Managed Ecosystems and Translucent Institutional Logics: Engaging Communities
46 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 2019
When organizations need input into their innovation or production process, they have traditionally faced the decision to make the input themselves or buy it through the market. However, rapidly decreasing information costs allow firms to harness external communities that are neither employees of the firm hierarchy, nor traditional contracted market participants such as supply chain partners. We introduce the managed ecosystem governance form in which a central organization engages external communities and also manages these communities by maintaining some degree of control over their activities. This model is evident in various organizational approaches including multi-sided platforms, crowdsourcing, and the gig economy. Building upon the knowledge-based view of the firm, we argue that these increasingly common governance models offer a wealth of opportunities, but require organizations to adopt a translucent institutional logic that is in-between the traditional closed logic of the firm and the open logic of the market. To successfully employ this model, firms must learn to shepherd communities, leverage them without exploiting them, and share intellectual property rights.
Keywords: Managed Ecosystems, Open and User Innovation Strategy, Multi-sided Platforms, Knowledge-Based View, Institutional Logics, Capabilities, Communities, Information Costs
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