Ferreira et al 2021 IJPPM Business Models ACCEPTED.pdf (493.91 kB)
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Prevailing theoretical approaches predicting sustainable business models: a systematic review

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journal contribution
posted on 26.04.2021, 11:45 by João J. Ferreira, Cristina I. Fernandes, Pedro M. Veiga, Mathew HughesMathew Hughes
Purpose – This study aims to map scientific publications, intellectual structure, and research trends in the sustainable business models (SBM) field. Specifically, it attempts to: i) identify the fundamental contributions of research in this area of knowledge; and ii) determine the research lines that constitute the most prominent intellectual structure. We leverage these insights to formulate and propose a future research agenda for SBM. Design/methodology/approach – We made recourse to the bibliometric, co-citation, and cluster analysis techniques. To evaluate potential patterns among articles, we analysed how articles are jointly cited. We further applied hierarchical cluster analysis to the articles and used co-citation analysis to group the interrelated articles into distinct sets. Findings – The results enable the identification and classification of the prevailing theoretical foci in the domain of SBM: i) SBM implementation; ii) SBM challenges; iii) Institutional SBM; iv) Circular SBM; and v) Emerging SBM. Originality/value – This study identifies, explores, analyses, and summarises the main theoretical approaches and themes surrounding SBM research to date, contributing to deepening the literature by identifying the priority areas concerning sustainable business models and encouraging future research of an internationally excellent standard.


FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I. P., under the project “UIDB/04630/2020”.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business

Published in

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management


Emerald Publishing Limited


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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© Emerald Publishing Limited

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-12-2020-0653.

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Prof Mat Hughes. Deposit date: 15 March 2021