A4 Article in conference proceedings
Do Business Ecosystems Differ from Other Business Networks? The Case of an Emerging Business Ecosystem for Digital Real-Estate and Facility Services

List of Authors: Matti Mäntymäki, Hannu Salmela, Marja Turunen
Publication year: 2018
Journal: Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Book title *: Challenges and Opportunities in the Digital Era: 17th IFIP WG 6.11 Conference on e-Business, e-Services, and e-Society, I3E 2018, Kuwait City, Kuwait, October 30 – November 1, 2018, Proceedings
Title of series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Volume number: 11195
Number of pages: 14
ISBN: 978-3-030-02130-6
eISBN: 978-3-030-02131-3


The concept of ecosystem emanates from ecology and subsequently has been broadly used in business studies to describe and investigate complex interrelationships between companies and other organizations. However, it is widely known that borrowing constructs from natural sciences to social sciences, or vice versa, can be problematic. For example, the use of the ecosystem concept outside its original domain has received criticism. To better understand the essence, applicability and boundaries of the business ecosystem concept, this study conducts a conceptual analysis of a set of concepts used to describe business networks. To this end, we analytically comparing business ecosystem with other prominent concepts, namely industry, population, cluster, inter-organizational network and value network. We then present an illustrative case of an emerging business ecosystem of digital services for real-estate and facility services and scrutinize the applicability of the focal concepts for our case. The results indicate a need for increased conceptual clarity when describing business networks. The results indicate a need for conceptual clarity when describing business networks. We conclude with a synthesis and discuss under what circumstances using the business ecosystem concept may add value for research and practice. The paper contributes to the business ecosystem literature by clarifying the similarities and differences between business ecosystem and other concepts used to describe business networks.

Last updated on 2019-20-07 at 14:29