Role of Imprinting in Sustainable Business Model Innovation

Sustainable Business Model Innovation integrates environmental and social value with economic value. Using Organizational Imprinting Theory and drawing on a qualitative, in-depth single case study of an Indian startup, we observe the impact of entrepreneurs’ sustainability values (pro-environmental and pro-social values) on sustainable business model innovation. The study shows how the founders’ sustainability values imprint the startup business model through structural and cognitive imprinting routes.  

Further, we trace three key sources of these imprints that generated sustainability values in the startup founder. The study offers a set of propositions regarding how startup firms achieve sustainable business model innovation and which sources imprint sustainability values on entrepreneurs. The study contributes to the research literature on the concept of sustainable business model innovation in an emerging country context and the empirical application of Organizational Imprinting Theory to Sustainable Business model innovation.  


Professor Arvind Upadhyay has an expertise in the area of sustainable operations and supply chain management. His research, consulting and teaching stretches across the management spectrum, with an emphasis on integrating operations and supply chain, with other management subject areas. Alongside teaching, He has taken an active role in the research and publications. His research has been published in the Journal of Business Research, International Journal of Production Research, Production Planning and Control, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Business Strategy and the Environment, Journal of Cleaner Production, amongst others. He has presented at international conferences, including European Operations Management Association Conferences, Production and Operations Management Society Conferences, British Academy of Management and research lunch seminars at Cambridge Judge Business School.  

Ravi Roshan is a Doctoral Scholar (PhD) in the Strategic Management Area at IIM Lucknow (India). He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a postgraduate diploma in management. He attended the business leadership development program at Cambridge Judge Business School (UK) in 2019. He has served in a leading Indian public sector enterprise (NHPC Ltd.) in various technical and managerial capacities for six years. His research interests include entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial ecosystem, business model innovation, and sustainability. He has presented his works at reputed international conferences, such as the Academy of Management 2023 (Boston), 2nd Annual QCA Conference of the Americas 2023 (California), 6th International QCA PDW 2022 (Zurich), and Indian Academy of Management 2024 (Goa). 

An image: from left: Ravi Roshan and Prof. Arvind Upadhyay 

Photo: from left: Ravi Roshan and Prof. Arvind Upadhyay 

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Role of Imprinting in Sustainable Business Model Innovation

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