The evidence in this chapter demonstrates the importance of stakeholder collaborations, business mind-sets and model innovations in times of crisis. The effectiveness of collaborations has been enhanced by a shared purpose and belief in proactively engaging with each other at all levels and cooperating to turn threats into positive changes and trustful relationships. The inclusion of stakeholder empowerment and engagement in societal, environmental and economic matters leads to effective results and repercussions. Furthermore, the nature of business priorities and value creation shifts towards integrated social, economic and environmental goals simultaneously.
The COVID-19 crisis has shed light on the fact that the responsibility of the business organisation is given—being the engine that moves the industry—but at the same time each part of the industry participates in the process of value creation and, in some cases, to the process of value cocreation (Goodstein &c Wicks, 2007), especially when urgent matters require immediate reactions.
The fact that the firm is engaged and linked to a plurality of interests, expectations and needs results in a major challenge, which is even greater during times of crisis: the reconsideration of responsibilities of each group of stakeholders. While firms attempt to demonstrate that they are creating the maximum possible value for both stakeholders and for their business, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that part of the responsibility of such value creation must be put on the stakeholders themselves.
A cooperative attitude and shared responsibilities among stakeholders create a situation where business models can be innovated and reconfigured towards a new purpose, which includes objectives that were traditionally seen as requiring a trade-off affecting the company’s core business. In fact, in today’s world this represents the only option for creating value.
There are some questions that need to be answered: Will the stronger social engagement and collaborations remain stable in the COVID-19 recovery period? To what extent will stakeholders at different levels realise that social innovation stemming from business model reconfiguration builds both short-term and long-term resilience? Will people care more about a common and shared vision of environmental, social and economic wellbeing? Will third-sector and business organisations see a higher convergence of intents and sources of value creation in their business model configuration? How will this affect value creation initiatives? Will social relationships actually substitute a logic of transaction when establishing new business models from this moment onwards?
These are open questions that we wish to explore in future research by adopting and adapting the relationship-based view and the stakeholder approach to the traditional business model narrative.
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