Life, death and rebirth of the B2B business model: the case of the cimber airline

Svend Hollensen, Marcel Bogers, Britta Boyd

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaperForskningpeer review


Many airline companies are struggling to survive after the industry has been hit hard by several crises. The reaction of companies is however heterogeneous, with family businesses reacting in a particular way given their inherent characteristics and particular risks. One airline that has went through cycles of expansion and decline is the Danish family-owned Cimber airline. In this paper, we aim to understand how and why Cimber’s business model changed over time.

Since its original establishment in 1950 the family-owned airline Cimber experienced many changes. To study the development of their business model, we adopt a qualitative case study approach. The empirical base of the case study is formed by a set of interviews, with previous and current managers and employees, including both family and non-family, conducted in the period 2011-2014, complemented with secondary data, such as annual reports, newspaper articles and industry analyses.

Cimber’s business model development can be divided into three different stages with a changing focus on different business model components. Our analysis shows that there is an important difference between the internal (family) and external involvement, with an important association to the complexity of the business model.

Our findings imply that family businesses need to be aware of not only the opportunities but also the possible costs and risks when opening up their business model. Whereas establishing early relationships with key stakeholders is vital, it can also be risky on the long term to rely on a limited business model. Finally, while acknowledging the dangers of business model complexity, family businesses have to find a delicate balance between building and respecting their traditional values, resources and relationships on the one hand and developing or even reinventing their business model on the other hand.
Publikationsdato30. aug. 2015
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 30. aug. 2015
Begivenhed31st Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Conference - Kolding , Kolding , Danmark
Varighed: 25. aug. 201529. aug. 2015


Konference31st Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Conference


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