Theorising the Normative Business Model

Sally Randles, Oliver Laasch

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


We begin with a critique of the ontological underpinnings of the mainstream business model literature with its origins in design-science and offer instead insights from sociology and organisational institutionalism to argue for a more accurate representation of actual processes of organisational transformation, especially necessary where scholarship is concerned to address societal mission-oriented normative cares beyond the objectives of efficiency and profit maximisation. We propose the foundations of a new theoretical construct: the Normative Business Model (NBM) distinguishing deep institutionalisation as the embedding of values (normative orientations) into the design, practices and identity of organisations. The NBM comprises four cornerstones: (a) normativity, (b) (de)institutionalisation and deep institutionalisation processes, (c) institutional entrepreneurialism and (d) economic and financial governance. A case overview of Arizona State University is used to highlight that the NBM refers to the full range and variety of organisation types, not exclusively businesses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-73
Number of pages21
JournalOrganization and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • (de)institutionalisation
  • deep institutionalisation
  • institutional entrepreneurialism
  • institutional transformation
  • normative business model (NBM)
  • normative orientations
  • ontology
  • organisations
  • sustainability
  • transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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