Introducing sharing-focused business models in the B2B context: comparing interaction and environmental sustainability for selling, renting and sharing on industrial markets
Journal article, 2021

Purpose The purpose of this study is to investigate the sales-, rental- and sharing-focused business models for industrial markets by analysing interactions and environmental sustainability efforts within them. Design/methodology/approach Case studies are conducted at two world-leading manufacturing firms of complex industrial products. The analysis compares how interaction takes place in sales-, rental- and sharing-focused business models in industrial markets for high-technology products in connection with environmental sustainability outcomes. Findings The findings show the need for different interaction patterns in sales-, rental- and sharing-focused business models at firm, relationship and network levels. The implementation of sharing-focussed business models requires new interactions with actors within firms, between firms and key collaborators and in networks. The firms in our study have made a wide range of efforts to improve the environmental sustainability of their products. Sharing-focused business models have the potential to be environmentally sustainable if products can be shared among customers. However, under-usage of products and the increased need to transport them may reduce environmental sustainability. Originality/value This study reveals that although manufacturing firms and customers are willing to implement sharing-focused business models, there are obstacles to achieving the expected environmental sustainability associated with this business model. These are due to the high-technology nature and level of customisation of the associated firms' products and services, which make it difficult to share resources across firms without advanced adaptations to products such as re-programming. This study contributes to the sharing-focused business model literature for the business-to-business context, by pointing to the pivotal role partnerships with new actors and closer collaboration with existing actors in supply chains can play in enabling sharing-focused business models in the future.




Product development

Sustainable business models

Sharing economy


Lisa Melander

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Supply and Operations Management

Ala Arvidsson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Supply and Operations Management

Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing

0885-8624 (ISSN)

Vol. 36 10 1864-1875

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Other Mechanical Engineering

Business Administration



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Latest update

4/5/2022 5