Doctoral Student Marika Iivari's PhD defence: Exploring business models in ecosystemic contexts


Martti Ahtisaari Institute's Scholarship Programme's student Marika Iivari defended her PhD dissertation on 10 June 2016.

Exploring business models in ecosystemic contexts

The purpose of this study is to explore the emergence of ecosystemic business models. Ecosystemic thinking has surfaced as a concept to explain the complexity and interconnected nature of modern business. It reflects a fundamental change in the way we view innovations in particular. Innovations are no longer considered to rise within organizational boundaries alone. Modern business is characterized by a diversity of innovation stakeholders from private and public backgrounds, from large organizations to users and citizens.

To further the understanding on the research phenomenon of ecosystemic business models, this study relies on two streams of research: Open innovation and business model research. These fields of academic literature mirror well the paradigmatic shift on how the dynamism and change of modern, interconnected business context impacts innovations, value creation and capture and subsequent competitive advantage. The empirical part of this study has been conducted as qualitative case studies. Also conceptual frameworks have been based on empirical data. Drawing from ecosystem analogy, this study investigates different types of ecosystemic contexts, namely that of business ecosystems and innovation ecosystems, in order to determine not only how and why business models emerge, but also how they develop and transform in such a context.

An ecosystemic view on business models emphasizes that value co-creation and co-capture need to be steered by a common motive based on mutually connected opportunities and collective value proposition. This research finds that in a complex, multileveled configuration of ecosystems, striving for synergy within the ecosystem is a prerequisite for successful building of ecosystemic value and competitive advantage as a whole. The results of the study indicate that business models are valid not only at organizational level but at the ecosystemic level as well, as ecosystem synergy and successful orchestration can be achieved through utilizing the ecosystemic business model.

The full study is available online.

Last updated: 25.8.2016