John Manshreck is an experienced financial professional, with over twenty years of experience in senior private sector management and consulting roles. John’s consulting experience has focused in the areas of utilities, energy, mining and health care, with extensive experience in capital investment analysis and business case development, particularly in support of utilities and utility smart grid investments. John has also successfully supported many transformational projects, including organizational restructurings, outsourcings, staffing transformation following technology implementation, and sale of business units to third parties.
John's current academic research is focussed on understanding how an industry’s incumbent firms modify their business model in response to competitive challenges arising from technological change. In particular, the response of electrical utilities to current changes in distributed generation technology is being examined.
John holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the University of Manitoba (Canada), an MBA from London Business School (United Kingdom), a CPA designation, and a CA-IT designation as a Chartered Accountant with specialist qualification and experience in the field of IT. John is a certified Project Management Professional and a member of the Project Management Institute.
This thesis explores the process by which business model change occurs in mature organizations responding to the introduction of disruptive technology. It further examines differences between firms, in the vigour with which they explore business model innovation, and the reason for those differences. Using the theoretical concepts of the business model and path dependence, the research tracks the process of business model change in eight North American utilities that operate in a broad range of circumstances. The multiple-case design used in the research supports a robust comparison of differences between these organizations.
The story that is told by the research into these eight firms is interesting. The research found that firms are more likely to explore business model innovation as external stresses increase. However, it also found that despite their willingness to explore innovation, the ability of firms to actually innovate their business models can be seriously impeded by path dependencies. It was also found that firm behaviour that would be predicted by the existence of complementary assets to be impeded by strong issues of path dependence.
This paper makes a contribution to theoretical understanding of the factors that affect business model innovation by mature, incumbent firms, and the role that path dependence can play in impeding that evolution. This contribution has important practical applications to develop an understanding that is of relevance to industry, government and regulators. The research is exploratory, and hence is limited in the number of companies studied and the duration of the period examined. However, the industry studied is in a period of significant transition and presents fertile ground for further work to build on this research and to investigate issues in greater depth.
Keywords: business model, business model innovation, path dependence
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