Study level

  • PhD
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Honours


Faculty of Science

School of Information Systems

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Research centre


Dr Erwin Fielt
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science


The ongoing proliferation of a digital lifestyle and the exposure to global innovation raises the expectation level of customers for new products and services. The ongoing technological innovations make this possible, but require digital business models to turn them into viable commercial offerings.

This is not only relevant for new (‘born-on-the-web’) companies, but also for traditional companies who run the risk of having their core business disrupted. While some struggle with the new business models (e.g. Kodak), others turn it into new, profitable opportunities (e.g. Apple).

Digital business models are taken up by both new and traditional companies, impacting both the consumer and business domain. This also applies to traditional (physical) industries.

For example, Threadless introducing a model leveraging the crowd and co-creation in the textiles and clothing industry and Dow Corning embracing the commoditisation of the chemical industry by introducing Xiameter.

Moreover, digital business model are often context specific, for example, in the manufacturing industry there is currently a large momentum for new business models based on ideas about a new industrial revolution (e.g., Industry 4.0).

Research activities

In this project you can expect to be involved in:

  • studying the academic literature on business models, digitization and digital innovation
  • conducting empirical research into digital business models (e.g., case studies, surveys, simulations, action design research)
  • understanding, integrating and developing new theory.


The objective of this research is to provide insights into new digital business models, in particular those that can disrupt traditional business models.

It will identify different types of digital business models and also articulate the underlying rational of value creation and capture. This will be more based on information economics and the characteristics of technology.

A PhD project can also include the transformation of existing, traditional companies driven by digital business models.

In addition, you will provide practical insights that can support those involved in developing or evaluating digital business models.

Skills and experience

As the ideal candidate, you should have a:

  • good understanding of both information systems and management/business
  • reasonable understanding of research methodology
  • basic understanding of either qualitative or quantitative research methods.


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships


Contact the supervisor for more information.