Almost any firm faces a change during its life that requires a redefinition of the business model to be more innovative, namely business model innovation (BMI) that designs an architecture to create, capture and deliver value to customers in the marketplace and society. These changes are a great opportunity to improve revenue and costs, but the associated organizational complexity also has drawbacks, due to the set of interrelationships and linkages within the firm. This situation could be even more relevant for firms that implement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), due to the complexity of the software and also the difficult implementation process in the organization. In order to fill this gap, this study analyses 104 firms that have implemented ERP and deal simultaneously with BMI. The research objective is therefore to test the role of organizational complexity between ERP and BMI. Specifically, the aim is to test the mediating role of organizational complexity between ERP and BMI. Our findings reveal that organizational complexity mediates between ERP and BMI. Important implications for researchers and managers are provided to optimize ERP implementation so as to obtain a higher return on the costs and revenue associated with BMI.
The initial contribution by Bellman, Clark, Malcom, Craft, and Ricciardi (1957) describing a business game was the trigger for a new research stream around business model innovation (BMI), which is frequently referred to in the literature as a change in the business logic of the firm (Teece, 2010). But it was not until 40 years later that business models were regularly cited during the late 1990s, following the dotcom crisis (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). Nowadays, the topic of BMI has become highly cited in the context of designing how a firm creates, proposes and captures value (Taran, Boer, & Lindgren, 2015). Since then, a plethora of definitions by researchers and managers (Spieth & Schneider, 2016) have been suggested in terms of business model conceptualization (Massa, Tucci, & Afuah, 2017). One of the most widely acknowledged definitions of what comprises a business model was proposed by Teece (2010; p. 172), who described a business model as: “…the design or architecture of the value creation, delivery, and capture mechanisms of a company…”. BMI is essential to the survival of any firm (Velu, 2015) and helps to define how an organization creates value and captures value from its customers (Clauss, 2017). But apart from the conceptual abstraction of the phenomenon (Foss & Saebi, 2017), the different components of BMI should be accounted for (Taran et al., 2015) in order to clarify the object under study. This study focuses on how firms deal with the organizational complexity of BMI (Chamberlin, Doutriaux, & Hector, 2010). Specifically, the approach selected focuses on the antecedents (ERP) and consequences (BMI) of organizational complexity. Such studies are popular among academics (Lambert & Davidson, 2013) wishing to obtain a clear picture of the relationships among variables inside the firm (Cortimiglia, Ghezzi, & German, 2016), which in turn impact on performance (Karimi et al., 2016). One of the elements closely linked to organizational complexity is the implementation of an ERP. There has been a growing research stream focusing on the need to adapt technological advances to BMI (Martins, Rindova, & Greenbaum, 2015) at multiple levels (Chesbrough & Rosenbloom, 2002). For example, Mohnen and Hall (2013) focus on how technology could affect the innovation of an organizational business model. By contrast, Mason and Spring (2011) analyse how a software tool or system could be incorporated into firms' business models. In this sense, the ERP is a crucial technological application in today's B2B markets as a means of developing firms' business models regarding profitability and competitiveness.