Amsterdam School of International Business

Circular moonshots

the influence of business models for sustainability on field change


We aim to understand the interaction between shifting organizational field logics and field actors’ responses to reconcile logic plurality and maintain legitimacy through business model innovation. Drawing on a multimethod, longitudinal field study in the fashion industry, we traced how de novo and incumbent firms integrate circular logics in business models (for sustainability) and uncover how productive tensions in field logics lead to experimental spaces for business model innovation. Our findings showed a shift in the discourse on circular logic that diverted attention and resources from materials innovation (e.g. recycling) to business model innovation (e.g. circular business models).

By juxtaposing the degree of field logic tension and the degree of business model innovation, we derive four types of business model hybridization responses that actors engaged in to maintain legitimacy – constrained, limited, integrated, and expanded. Our study generates new insights on business models for sustainability as vehicles for organizational field change.

Reference Divito De Paauw, L., Leitheiser, E., & Piller, C. (2022). Circular moonshots: the influence of business models for sustainability on field change. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2022(1), 13141.

Publication date

Jan 2022


Erin Leitheiser
Charlotte Piller

Research database