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Network management in the era of ecosystems: Systematic review and management framework

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-36
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Early online date14 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Business-to-business (B2B) and business network scholars have begun adopting an "ecosystem" approach to describe the increasing interdependence and co-evolution of contemporary business and innovation activities. Although the concept is useful in communicating these issues, the challenge is the lack of overall understanding of the added value of the approach, its particular theoretical logic, and its links to network management. This systematic review analyzes the usage of the ecosystem concept in B2B journals and its implications for network management. Common themes are distilled, the specific features of the ecosystem approach are examined, and four categories of the ecosystem approach are identified: (a) competition and evolution; (b) emergence and disruption; (c) stable business exchange; and (d) value co-creation. We also examine shifts in management opportunities and challenges related to these developments. Finally, we suggest a revised network management framework, where we address the implications of utilizing an ecosystem layer for the analysis, as well as using the ecosystem as a perspective in the management of business and innovation networks. Overall, this study contributes to the literature by providing a coherence-seeking, systematic outlook on the increasingly useful, but still nascent and ambiguously utilized ecosystem approach.


  • Ecosystem, network, management

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland