Businesses need to innovate in order to survive over time and to prosper in demanding environments. Increasingly, disruptive technologies as well as new business models and organizational designs are forcing organizations to adapt and innovate. Innovation is not only necessary for products and/or services, but at the very core of how the organization creates value. Albert Einstein said «we cannot solve our problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them». For businesses, this implies that in changing environments and facing problems of unprecedented complexity, firms need to develop and implement innovative ideas, approaches and techniques in order to outperform competitors by creating new and dynamic practices. A major part of this challenge is to create and lead an entrepreneurial culture in which new business models may emerge, while at the same time creating a dynamic management control system that enables the company to measure and manage its economic, social and environmental performance in changing environments.

In order to develop and capitalize on an entrepreneurial culture inside the organization, then, companies need innovative business models as well as innovative management control practices. This relates to the much-discussed challenge of creating a balance between control and autonomy inside the organization. Creating and sustaining such a balance requires appropriate organizational design, leadership practices, culture and management control systems. How to design and combine these elements architecturally in the organization is a crucial question in this regard.

Business models comprise the company’s value proposition to customers, the resources and activities that enable the company to deliver that value, and the logic and principles of value capture that allow the firm to ensure profitability. The business model perspective is a holistic, architectural perspective on the organization, which draws attention to the components of the company’s value creation and the interdependence between these components. Management control systems are a part of this picture, as monitoring and controlling factors that promote performance is central to making a business model work. Management control systems are not limited to performance management, however. They also comprise management perspectives, principles and values upon which the understanding of the company’s performance is built. And ultimately, the implementation and functioning of the business model and its corresponding management control practices require well-suited leadership approaches aimed at achieving the balance between control and autonomy.

This special issue draws together a business model perspective and a management control perspective in order to investigate the conditions that allow innovation in business models as well as in control systems. Thereby, the aim is to gain insight into how organizations can be innovated in order to promote control as well as autonomy, entrepreneurial spirit as well as sound performance management.

Submissions could include – but are not limited to – the following topics:

  • How can organizations foster and sustain an entrepreneurial culture?

  • What are appropriate approaches to leadership in order to develop and maintain innovative business models?

  • What are the cultural preconditions of combining management control and individual autonomy in organizations?

  • How can companies design business models for simultaneous economic, social and environmental goal attainment?

  • How can organizations exercise control in innovative business models?

  • How can innovative control practices be implemented?

  • How can management control tools and techniques be designed in order to allow for the balance of control and autonomy?

  • What are key characteristics of the business models of successful socio-entrepreneurial ventures?

  • How can management control systems be innovated in order to make them more dynamic?

  • How can control practices contribute to the identification and evaluation of innovative ideas?

Please send in your paper no later then December 15, 2014 to Katarina.kaarboe@nhh.no

Guest editors:

Professor Katarina Kaarbøe, NHH Norwegian School of Economics

Associate Professor Lars Jacob Tynes Pedersen, NHH Norwegian School of Economics