The Effective Use of Digital Technology for Business Model Innovation

Thesis (MA)

Advisor(s): Timo Böttcher


As one core construct in the digital transformation, the business model has emerged as a novel unit of analysis to analyze how firms create and capture value in digital ecosystems (Fitzgerald, Kruschwitz, Bonnet, & Welch, 2013; Vial, 2019). The business model itself is shaped by the ecosystem through key trends, industry forces, market forces or macroeconomic forces (Moore, 1993; Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010; Tanriverdi, Rai, & Venkatraman, 2010). It is clear that digital technology makes an important contribution to the innovation of business models. Thus, technological innovations, such as Artificial Intelligence or Blockchain, should provide opportunities for business model innovation. However, in a recent study, we found that technological innovations only enable evolutionary (only parts of the business models are changed & only new to the firm, but not to the industry) or focused (only parts of the business models are changed & new to the industry) business model innovation. Thus, we wondered how is technology used in digital business model innovation? What is the role of digital innovation for complex (completely new) business model innovation? And ultimately, how do firms effectively use digital technology for business model innovation.

Thus, the purpose of this thesis is to analyze the effective use of digital technology for business model innovation. The thesis builds on the idea of theories of effective use (Burton-Jones & Grange, 2013; Burton-Jones & Volkoff, 2017) and the method qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) (Mattke, Meier, Weitzel, Gerow, & Thatcher, forthcoming; Soto Setzke, Kavili, & Böhm, 2020).

Research questions to elaborate on this research gap include:

  • What is the current state of knowledge on the influence information technology / digital technology on business models and business strategy?
  • What are the business model changes enabled by digital technology?
  • What are patterns of effective use of digital technology for business model innovation?


  • Perform a structured literature review on relevant topics such as digital business strategy, digital business models, and digital innovation
  • Develop a research methodology combining QCA and theories of effective use
  • Data collection through case studies and/or desk research with the focus on the impact of digital technology on business models
  • Data analysis applying the developed research methodology and validation thereof


  • Interest in current topics of business model innovation and digital innovation
  • High degree of autonomy and individual responsibility
  • Experience in and willingness to conduct scientific studies
  • Structured, reliable and self-motivated work style

Further Information

The thesis should be written in English. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact me directly. Please send your application including our application form, "Notenauszug" from TUMonline, and CV to Please note that we can only consider applications with complete documents


Burton-Jones, A., & Grange, C. (2013). From use to effective use: A representation theory perspective. Information systems research, 24(3), 632-658.

Burton-Jones, A., & Volkoff, O. (2017). How Can We Develop Contextualized Theories of Effective Use? A Demonstration in the Context of Community-Care Electronic Health Records. Information Systems Research, 28(3), 468-489. doi:10.1287/isre.2017.0702

Fitzgerald, M., Kruschwitz, N., Bonnet, D., & Welch, M. (2013). Embracing Digital Technology: A New Strategic Imperative. Sloan Management Review, 55(2), 1-13.

Mattke, J., Meier, C., Weitzel, T., Gerow, J., & Thatcher, J. B. (forthcoming). Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) In Information Systems Research: Status Quo, Guidelines, and Future Directions. Communications of the AIS.

Moore, J. (1993). Predators and Prey: A New Ecology of Competition. Harvard Business Review, 71(3), 75-86. Retrieved from

Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. Amsterdam: Osterwalder & Pigneur.

Soto Setzke, D., Kavili, M., & Böhm, M. (2020). On the Use of Qualitative Comparative Analysis in Information Systems Research - A Critical Review. Paper presented at the 28th European Conference on Information Systems, Marrakesh, Morocco.

Tanriverdi, H., Rai, A., & Venkatraman, N. (2010). Research Commentary—Reframing the Dominant Quests of Information Systems Strategy Research for Complex Adaptive Business Systems. Information Systems Research, 21(4), 822-834. doi:10.1287/isre.1100.0317

Vial, G. (2019). Understanding digital transformation: A review and a research agenda. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 28(2), 118-144. doi:10.1016/j.jsis.2019.01.003