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Towards a Theory of Ecosystems

Jacobides, M, Cennamo, C and Gawer, Annabelle (2018) Towards a Theory of Ecosystems Strategic Management Journal.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Jacobides, M
Cennamo, C
Date : 2018
Copyright Disclaimer : This is the peer reviewed version of an article accepted for publication in Strategic Management Journal and will be been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 23 Mar 2018 09:45
Last Modified : 23 Mar 2018 09:45

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