In the Eye of the Beholder: Stakeholder Perceived Value in Sustainable Business Models

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The sustainability of business models is commonly determined by their value creation for a wide range of stakeholders. This value is primarily conceptualised through the aggregated macro-level Triple Bottom Line (TBL) dimensions of social, ecological and economic value. However, few business model studies provide an explanation as to why and how stakeholders see such value in a business model. A problematising review reveals a conflation of the TBL macro-level and stakeholder micro-level of analysis, causing ambiguity regarding contents and recipients of value. This paper adopts a perceived value concept based on micro-level insights from recipient-centric (strategic) management to reform the construct of ecological, social and economic value. The relationships between value perceptions, need fulfilment and need satisfiers are analysed based on the characteristics of subjectivity and heterogeneity, one-sidedness and non-linearity, situation-specificity and transience, spill-over, relationality and experientiality, idiosyncrasy, incommensurability, and interdependence. The analysis underscores a value creation theory based on stakeholder perceptions of need fulfilment. It suggests stakeholder value creation can only be understood through the stakeholders whose needs are being satisfied. The suggested distinction between needs and satisfiers remedies their conflation in previous research and enables a discussion of conditions for sustainable stakeholder value creation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102406
JournalLong Range Planning
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2024

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