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Facebook and the creation of the metaverse : radical business model innovation or incremental transformation?

  • Purpose In a move characterized by ambiguity, Facebook changed its name to Meta in October 2021, announcing a new era of social interaction, enabled by the metaverse technology that appears poised to become the future center of gravity for online social interactions. At first glance, the communicated change signals a radically new business model (BM) based on an unprecedented configuration of the three following components: value creation, value proposition and value capture. The purpose of this paper is to analyze Facebook’s announced changes in its BM to clarify whether the change is as radical as communicated or rather represents an incremental transformation of the current BM. Design/methodology/approach This investigation adopted an in-depth case study research method. The process included using a structured approach to collect 153 data points, including academic studies and publicly available information, followed by qualitative content analysis. Findings The results of our analysis of Facebook’s entrepreneurial journey indicate that the communicated strategic refocusing does not correspond to a radical BM innovation pattern. Even though Facebook’s BM might evolve into the innovation phase, as the current changes appear very futuristic, the authors estimate that the core elements of the BM will change incrementally. The investigation indicates that the underlying logic of the straightforward communicative efforts primarily serves two purposes: to improve the external perception of the company and to disseminate an internal change signal within the organization. Originality/value This paper is the first study that takes an entrepreneurship and BM perspective in analyzing Facebook’s approach in rebranding to Meta and refocusing its strategy on building the metaverse. The academic and practical relevance, as well as the potential future impact on business and society, makes the investigation of this case an intriguing prospect. Additionally, the study illuminates the difference between the communicated vision and the real impact on the business, suggesting critical questions about future large-scale rebranding efforts and their effects.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Sascha KrausORCiD, Dominik K. KanbachORCiD, Peter KrystaORCiD, Maurice M. SteinhoffORCiD, Nino Tomini
Chairs and Professorships:Chair of Strategic Entrepreneurship
Parent Title (English):International journal of entrepreneurial behavior & research
Year of Completion:2022
First Page:52
Last Page:77
Tag:Business model innovation; Case study; Facebook; Meta; Metaverse
Content Focus:Academic Audience
Peer Reviewed:Yes
Rankings:AJG Ranking / 3
VHB Ranking / C
SJR Ranking / Q1
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International