Towards a Theory of Ecosystems

Strategic Management Journal (2018) 39: 2255-2276

Bocconi University Management Research Paper No. 5

40 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2018

See all articles by Carmelo Cennamo

Carmelo Cennamo

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategy and Innovation; SDA Bocconi

Annabelle Gawer

University of Surrey

Michael G. Jacobides

London Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 20, 2018

Abstract

The recent surge of interest in “ecosystems” in strategy research and practice has mainly focused on what ecosystems are and how they operate. We complement this literature by considering when and why ecosystems emerge, and what makes them distinct from other governance forms. We argue that modularity enables ecosystem emergence, as it allows a set of distinct yet interdependent organizations to coordinate without full hierarchical fiat. We show how ecosystems address multilateral dependences based on various types of complementarities - supermodular or unique, unidirectional or bidirectional, which determine the ecosystem’s value-add. We argue that at the core of ecosystems lie non-generic complementarities, and the creation of sets of roles that face similar rules. We conclude with implications for mainstream strategy and suggestions for future research.

Suggested Citation

Cennamo, Carmelo and Gawer, Annabelle and Jacobides, Michael G., Towards a Theory of Ecosystems (March 20, 2018). Strategic Management Journal (2018) 39: 2255-2276, Bocconi University Management Research Paper No. 5, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3295560

Carmelo Cennamo (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategy and Innovation ( email )

Kilen
Frederiksberg, 2000
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.cbs.dk/en/staff/ccesi

SDA Bocconi ( email )

Via Bocconi 8
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

Annabelle Gawer

University of Surrey ( email )

Guildford, Surrey GU2 8DN
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/sbs/people/annabelle_gawer/

Michael G. Jacobides

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom
+44 20 7706 6725 (Phone)
+44 20 7724 7875 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.london.edu/mjacobides/

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
208
Abstract Views
902
rank
102,161
PlumX Metrics