How smart technologies can support sustainable business models: Insights from an air navigation service provider

Alessandro Merendino, Raffele Fiorentino, Francesco Grimaldi, Rita Lamboglia

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)
    456 Downloads (Pure)


    Although research on smart technologies explains their critical importance in sustainable business models (SBMs) (Mikalef et al., 2017), it remains unclear how organisations can embrace smart technologies to create and/or improve their sustainable business models. The purpose of this paper is to unravel and address the challenges of smart technologies to build and maintain a sustainable business model for organisations.
    The research develops an empirical analysis through a case study approach. We have investigated the case of ENAV – an Italian air navigation service provider – and how this firm uses smart technologies in the creation of its successful SBM. After constructing a basic theory, the authors moved to evidence collection. The data analysis has adopted a qualitative approach based on a thematic analysis of the transcripts and related documents.
    The findings from the case study support the idea that the business value and the strategic relevance of smart technologies still remain largely underestimated in SBM adoption (Mikalef et al., 2017). Case study findings suggest that, until today, smart technologies have played a minimal role in SBM adoption. However, the smart technologies show the potential to inform the SBM adoption process by contributing to corporate communication for external stakeholders and to the main dimensions of SBMs such as safety and security or the respect for social and environmental criteria in the supply chain.
    Practical implications
    This study seeks to support organisations and their directors to build and improve sustainable business models through smart technologies to maintain their competitive advantages. Specifically, our findings suggest that smart technologies can help organisations bridge the design-implementation gap of sustainable business models.
    This research advances our understanding of the role of smart technologies by explaining how they can enhance sustainable business model adoption. Indeed, we offer a comprehensive view of the integration of insights from three different but related literature streams such as sustainability strategies, smart technologies and change management studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1715-1736
    Number of pages22
    JournalManagement Decision
    Issue number8
    Early online date18 May 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2020

    Bibliographical note

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    • Smart Technologies
    • Sustainable Business Model
    • Change Management
    • Case study


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