Beiträge zur wissenschaftlichen Forschung

Ecosystems are one of the major trends today. They are based on complementarities, which can take the form of supermodularity or uniqueness and appear on both production and consumption side. Different configurations of complementarity lead to different characteristics of ecosystems with different implications. But which configuration of complementarities is beneficial in a given setting and what are the resulting consequences? We study emerging ecosystems driven by the respective orchestrator. Based on a multiple-case study, we show how and why orchestrators are leveraging different configurations of complementarities depending on, amongst others, competition on ecosystem or value proposition level and uncertainty and the resulting challenges for the orchestrator. These insights provide researchers with a better understanding of the basic mechanics of ecosystems and explain why certain types and structures of ecosystems are more likely to be seen in specific environments. For managers, it helps to sketch the development paths for own ecosystems.

The ecosystem as a new and distinct organisational form is increasingly replacing the single firm as the unit of analysis and driving the way how firms innovate to the next level. The ultimate purpose of an ecosystem is the realisation of a joint, innovative, value proposition by the partners involved. For that, ecosystem partners need to be aligned towards the value proposition by the orchestrator. In order to do so, orchestrators are using inter-firm structures, the so-called alignment structure. Surprisingly, extant research falls short in showing how firms can use such structural approaches, which motivated our research question on how orchestrators can align the other ecosystem actors towards the joint value proposition by using inter-organisational structures. Our qualitative multi-case study with ten cases led to three distinct approaches for aligning ecosystem partners by using inter-firm structures. And this yields at least four main contributions: First, we show how ecosystems are structured and governed by illuminating how firms can use different structural approaches to align their partners. Second, we elucidate on how ecosystem orchestrators secure their position within the ecosystem and manage trade-offs between competition and collaboration as well as dependencies. We contribute to an understanding of how flows of knowledge and information are being managed within ecosystems. And, finally, we contribute to an understanding of how such aspects are being managed in a dynamic context over time.

Ecosystems have become a major trend in research and practice alike. Within an ecosystem, the so-called orchestrator is considered to be one of the most important roles. However, extant research falls short of explaining how and why this orchestrator role and the resulting tasks of orchestration are allocated to specific ecosystem members. Based on a case study with eight cases, this paper aims to shed light on this crucial question. Our results revealed three basic patterns of ecosystem orchestration: single-, double-, and multi-orchestration ecosystems. These were determined by two key contingencies: production related knowledge and consumption related knowledge. This discovery yields several contributions to research and managerial practice. We show whether, and under which circumstances, orchestrators might include other ecosystem participants in the key tasks of orchestration. We demonstrate how orchestrators allocate these tasks to specific participants in the ecosystem. Furthermore, our results shed light on how orchestrators manage their ecosystem partners and secure their position within the ecosystem. And finally, we introduce a new view on the role of the orchestrator.

Contrary to existing literature, startups can be successful orchestrators of ecosystems. Based on nine qualitative case studies, this article introduces four archetypes that shed light on how a startup can fulfill the tasks of an orchestrator and overcome challenges. The findings identify dimensions of standardization/customization and sources of value creation as defining the role of ecosystem orchestrators and demonstrate the consequences for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), corporates, investors, and accelerators involved in such ecosystems.

Ecosystems are formed by organisations that jointly create a value proposition that a single firm could not create in isolation. To deliver this value proposition, the partners need a focal firm, the orchestrator, to be align them towards the joint value proposition. Thus, how orchestrators design the alignment structure of an ecosystem is at the very heart of the ecosystem concept – yet it has not been sufficiently addressed by extant research. This is all the more true for the question of how the design of an ecosystem is shaped depending on surrounding conditions. This paper applies a qualitative study with ten cases and, based on the attention-based view of the firm, contributes to research on ecosystems in several ways. First, it explains which ecosystem designs are beneficial under which conditions. Second, it elucidates the structure and activities within ecosystems and shows that start-ups can be just as good ecosystem orchestrators as incumbents. Third, it explains the circumstances under which single vs. multi orchestrator ecosystems occur. Fourth, it presents the conditions when incumbents or start-ups make better orchestrators. Finally, it is among the first studies to apply the attention-based view to business ecosystems, and shows that doing so yields intriguing insights into this emerging field of research.

The importance of technology decisions is widely acknowledged in both research and practice. However, we know little about how companies structure technology decisions from an organizational point of view and how attention is distributed in the course of the decision process in order to identify, process, and transfer information between the organizational units involved. Using the attention-based view of the firm and fourteen qualitative case studies, we present five approaches for organizing technology decisions: (1) Centralized Decision-Making, (2) Sedulous Information Bee, (3) Double-Blinded Analysis, (4) Moderated Expert Panel, and (5) Coterie Approach. On this ground, this paper introduces a new, attention-based view on technology decisions, which improves the theoretical understanding of organizations and provides guidelines for practitioners in choosing an appropriate organizational configuration in this regard.

Technology decisions are of central importance to firms focused on innovation. Research has provided support for a wide variety of approaches to technology decision making. This proliferation of approaches, however, means managers face the challenge of choosing the right approach for a given decision. Through case studies and workshops with a wide range of firms, we have developed a tool to assist managers in selecting among available approaches for the specific technology decision at hand.

Business Ecosystems are constellations of interdependent linked organizations aiming to create a common product or service. For this purpose, the actors need to communicate and exchange information. Since information is distributed via organisational structures, it is key to understand how firms shape such channels for the information exchange not just within their firm but also towards the partners involved in the ecosystem. Based on eight qualitative case studies, this article introduces a framework that shows two different orchestration types as well as three distinct organizational structures of information exchange. This framework allows managers to analyse their respective ecosystem and shape the organizational structures accordingly. It contributes to research in order to shed light on the organization of ecosystem actors.

The ecosystems concept is on the rise in both research and industry practice alike. Prospectively, they will change the way decision-makers deal with key managerial aspects such as strategy, innovation, organisation and competition. Within ecosystems, distribution of attention is crucial, since all ecosystem partners involved are pursuing their individual agendas and it is the core duty of the orchestrator to align these in order for the joint value proposition to come true. Since attention is distributed via organisational structures, more specifically the so-called procedural and communication channels, it is key to understand how firms shape such channels not just within their firm but also towards the partners involved in the ecosystem. In an attempt to shed light on this context, this paper applies a qualitative study with eight cases and, based on the attention-based view of the firm, contributes to research on ecosystems in several ways. First, and foremost, we show three different types of procedural and communication channels, thus providing a better understanding of how ecosystems are structured and governed. Second, we shed light on the explicit design of these procedural and communication channels by the orchestrator in order to shape the attention of the ecosystem partners. Third, our findings provide a more differentiated view on the role and function of orchestrators. Fourth, in so doing, we specify the requirements under certain contingencies for the orchestrator.

Business Ecosystems are of growing significance in research and industry practice. Undoubtedly, they will change the way how managers perceive central aspects such as strategy, innovation, organization, and competition. Research in this field is still in its infancy with many works being purely conceptional, thus lacking empirical evidence and in-depth insights. As a consequence, there is still a lack of research on the question of how firms can design business ecosystems based on prevailing contingencies and purposes and how they should be designed accordingly. Based on five qualitative cases, this paper depicts four archetypes of business ecosystems and shows how and why these distinct types are being used. These insights lead to six propositions for researchers as well as implications for practitioners. Finally, it intends to spark several pathways for future research on ecosystem orchestrators, ecosystem development and evolvement as well as the role of start-ups in ecosystems.

Business Ecosystems are constellations of interdependent linked organizations aiming to create a common product or service. Even though the structures of these complex constructs can differ, there is no guidance when to use which configuration. Based on six qualitative case studies, this article demonstrates how to arrange the key characteristics. Thus, the starting point of the Business Ecosystem and the level of collective uncertainty have a major impact on the structures of Business Ecosystems. By ending with five findings, this article contributes on the structural aspects of Business Ecosystems. Further, a managerial framework is presented indicating which orchestrator is beneficial to the surrounding condition and how to configure actors, activities, position, links and governance for a successful business ecosystem.

Although business ecosystems are still at an immature stage of its development, they are regarded to be growing significantly when it comes to research and industrial practices. This mentioned immaturity or in other words an early stage of development is due to the lack of rigid analytical evidence and further insight causing it to be entirely conceptual. Subsequently, a lack of focus from the research point of view addressing the question of how companies can create or initiate business ecosystems while dealing with surrounding restrictions. Based on a multiple case study, this paper presents two archetypal development practices to help practitioners in the establishment of business ecosystems. Finally, it intends to several ways for future research on ecosystem complementors, the organisation and the role of start-ups in ecosystems.

Large corporates have been acknowledged as orchestrators of ecosystems. We observed young entrepreneurial companies, i.e. startups; act as orchestrators as well despite their scarce resource endowments. We asked how startups orchestrate and how they fulfill their goals, i.e. growth, technology development and funding within ecosystems. We found that startups grow either by applying their value proposition in one use case or over multiple use cases. Through one use case startups integrate sales partners, pursue standardization and automation and limit the number of partners. Startups growing through multiple use cases have no sales partners but hire new staff to grow and limit the number of partners as well. We found some orchestrators have no technology, some let it developed by partners and other develop own technology in-house. We observed that independence of strategic investors is important to fund the venture, although partners will and could act as investors under certain constrains.

This study explores corporate spin-offs as core vehicles for business model innovation in incumbent firms. Business model innovation includes the discovery of entirely new ways of creating and capturing value and requires firms to look beyond their industry boundaries. Following the attention-based view of the firm, a favorable organizational set-up has to be established in order to seize and act upon the exploration of such novel opportunities. Therefore, we first study the organizational structures of four spin-offs, how these affected the regulation of attention and, in turn, influenced the spin-off initiative in achieving business model innovation. Based on an in-depth study of four cases, we contribute to literature on business model innovation, spin-offs and the attention-based view.

Modern forms of collaboration rely on effective information sharing among dispersed organizational actors. Due to the increasing amount of available information, an individual’s attention to shared information becomes one of the scarcest resources for collaboration. Recent works have emphasized the great relevance that modern information and communication technologies, such as so-called social technology platforms, have on attention distribution within firms today. Therefore, this paper is among the very first to investigate the question of how and why social technology platforms influence the distribution of attention within firms. Employing a theoretical framework based on the attention-based view of the firm and four original in-depth cases, this paper depicts four archetypes of social technology platforms and shows how and why these distinct types are used by firms to distribute attention. These insights lead to the development of several propositions as well as implications for practitioners.

Technological platforms offer a distinguished way to trigger innovation through cooperation be-tween individuals, firm units or whole companies. Moreover, technological platforms have be-come a topic of growing interest in research and practice. In this article, we analyze the special case of technological platforms applied in an R&D context. We base our work on recently pub-lished typologies of technological platforms. In a multi-case study, we identify unique features regarding the (1) value creation, (2) openness, and (3) ecosystem correlated with network effects of what we call R&D platforms. Thus, our paper emphasizes technological platforms as a means to address sources for innovation in the context shrinking R&D efficiencies in various research-intensive industries. Furthermore, we specify existing typologies of technological platforms by introducing a special type of platform.

This study explores corporate spin-off initiatives as core vehicles for strategic renewal in incumbent firms. In contrast to prior research that considers spin-offs as a means to exploit knowledge inherited from the parent firm, we investigate how spin-offs are used for the exploration of knowledge. Research implies that firms will seize novel resources if their attention is directed to the external environment. Following the attention-based view of the firm, a favorable organizational set-up has to be established. Therefore, we first study the organizational structures of four spin-off initiatives, how these affected the regulation of attention and, in turn, influenced the spin-off initiative in acquiring new knowledge.. Based on an in-depth study of four cases, we contribute to literature on strategic renewal, spin-offs and the attention-based view.

In this article, we analyzed the value creation patterns of technological platforms, applied in a life science context. For that matter, we conducated a multi case study at Bayer, a worldwide leading life science company. On this ground, we were able to describe two core value patterns. Thus, platforms create value by improving the R&D processes in terms of efficiency and effectivity leading towards time and cost savings. On the other hand, they can be the basis of the discovery of new compounds resulting in new products. By increasing the scope of the platform application, these values get multiplied boosting the overall value of the platform. Furthermore, we discovered additional value multiplication effects for external R&D platforms, which access an innovation ecosystem of various researchers and platform users.

The significance of decision-making has been repeatedly highlighted by works in the fields of strategy, organization and innovation management. Also, the question of how decision-making is organized in firms has been addressed by a vast stream of research. However, these works have mainly neglected the influence of stakeholder behavior on decision-making so far. Thus, our paper addresses the intersection of decision-making, organizational structures and stakeholder management. By doing so, we show how firms can shape organizational structures of decisions in order to ensure stakeholder behavior that is beneficial for the long-term innovativeness of a firm.

Literature on decision-making structures does include a stakeholder perspective focusing on who are relevant stakeholders and what they want (e. g. Cyert & Williams 1993; Wong 2011). However, extant research on decision-making structures has mainly neglected the third major question that stakeholder theory tries to answer, namely "what are the stakeholders´ means?" (Frooman 1999).On the other hand, literature on how stakeholders want to achieve their goals is mostly concerned with external stakeholders and does not consider decisions or, more specifically, technology decisions. Generally, there is not much literature which looks at the consequences of stakeholder influence strategies on interpersonal trusts. Research on antecedents of coercive and indirect stakeholder influence strategies is also limited (Frooman 1999) and has put little attention on decision-making structures as these antecedents. Thus, our work aims at addressing several gaps in extant research on stakeholder management and decision making structures as well.

Technology decisions are of central importance to firms with active technology management. They play a major role for technology and product development as well as technology transfer. Extant research has provided management practice with a great variety of approaches to support managers in this task. However, due to the plethora of approaches, managers face the challenge of choosing the right procedure for a given technology. Moreover, these approaches should also suit to the environmental and technological contingencies of the decision. In this research, we develop a tool which provides managers with recommendations regarding suitable methods, criteria, and organizational set-ups for the specific technology decision at hand. Our empirical work is grounded in 12 case studies and workshops with 19 firms during a period of over two years.

We examine decision-making structures in terms of their openness to information outside the immediate decision-making arena. Thus, we address a core topic of interest to multidivisional firms, which face strategic scope and boundary decisions. Their complex hierarchies and subunit specialization tend to discourage comprehensive decisions; a problem that can be overcome by open decision-making structures. Building on the behavioral theory of the firm, we examine the main and interaction effects of individuals' attention, motivation, and ability on structure openness. Testing our framework with survey data from about 200 individuals involved in strategic decisions provides strong support for our claims. Specifically, attention, motivation, and ability positively influence structure openness, as does the interaction between attention and motivation. The interaction between ability and attention negatively affects openness.

The significance of Patent Assertion Entities (also known as «Patent Trolls ») for the patent system has increasingly been gaining momentum in recent years. PAEs´ business activities embrace the search for patents for acquisition, search for infringers of these patents and, finally, enforcement of the respective patent rights. Research on PAEs, especially regarding the first two activities as mentioned before, is widely lacking. Based on ten original qualitative cases and the attention-based view of the firm, this paper, hence, strives to shed light on the question of how PAEs search patents being potentially relevant for them as well as the infringers of these patents. Thus grounded, we develop four archetypes of PAEs from an attention-based view. By doing so, we are offering a more fine-grained view on PAEs and display, how patent holders, potential target firms of PAEs as well as policy makers can act and react towards them.

Beiträge für die Management Praxis

Ecosystems werden die Geschäftswelt nachhaltig verändern. Unabhängig von Branche und Unternehmensgrösse lassen sich dabei neue Geschäftsmodelle und Kundenzugänge erschliessen. Es wird für Entscheidungsträger erfolgsentscheidend sein, diese neue Entwicklung in ihre Strategie zu integrieren und operativ zu implementieren. Exemplarisch für das neue Denken kann die Schweizer Helvetia-Versicherung angeführt werden, die konsequent diese Kooperationsform anstrebt.

Vermehrt treten neue Plattform Ecosysteme in den Schweizer Hypothekarmarkt ein und das Angebot sowie die Abschlüsse an Online-Hypotheken nehmen zu. Noch offen ist, inwiefern die Plattformen den Hypothekarmarkt für die Schweizer Banken verändern, welche Plattformen sich durchsetzen und wie sich diese langfristig im Markt positionieren werden.

In Ökosystemen wird ein Produkt oder eine Dienstleistung von mehreren Unternehmen gemeinsam erstellt. Da die einzelnen Partner für die Leistungserstellung kritisch sind, müssen die Kooperationen abgesichert werden. Der passende rechtliche Rahmen kann die Verbindlichkeit und das Engagement der involvierten Partner stärken. Anhand dreier Führungsformen von Ökosystemen wird erläutert, welche Rechtsformen des Schweizerischen Rechts sich hierfür am besten eignen.

Ecosystems spielen eine immer wichtigere Rolle im Schweizer Versicherungsmarkt. Offen ist, wie diese Initiativen die Versicherungslandschaft der Schweiz verändern werden und wie insbesondere auch neue Player über Ecosystems in den ehemals geschlossenen Kreis der Schweizer Versicherungen eindringen.

Digitalization is more than just a technological revolution, it's a revolution in transaction costs within and between companies. Sharp boundaries between industries and companies are disappearing in its wake. What are emerging are business ecosystems that can respond to customer needs in a brand new way. New customer needs are no longer satisfied by innovations from within a company's own value chain but by a network of partnerships. Business ecosystems cut the Gordian knot that binds many a failed innovation project. They make it possible to overcome the barriers and obstacles of internally driven innovation projects by developing the value proposition for the customer not from within the supply chain alone but by establishing a partnership of equals within the framework of an ecosystem. And transforming a company's value chain into a value network of multiple partners. In this situation it is vital to understand exactly what it is that makes a business ecosystem a success. In a bid to understand in detail (a) how a business ecosystem works and (b) what prerequisites and conditions the success of a business ecosystem depends on, Roland Berger has been working as a strategic partner to Helvetia Innovation Lab at the Institute of Technology Management at the University of St. Gallen. Their shared experience in this context forms the foundation for the arguments made in this study.

Von den rund 190 Billionen Dollar Umsatz, der im Jahr 2025 von allen Unternehmen weltweit erwirtschaftet wird, sollen fast 30 Prozent über die heutigen Branchengrenzen hinweg fliessen. Das schätzt eine Studie[1] des Unternehmensberaters McKinsey. Die Studie erwartet, dass sich die heute mehreren Hundert Branchen in Zukunft auf nur noch zwölf übergreifende Komplexe wie beispielsweise «Reise und Hospitalität», «Mobilität» oder «Bildung» verdichten werden. Welche Bereiche genau überleben, ist zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt noch höchst spekulativ. Sicher ist jedoch, dass sich die Branchen massiv verändern werden und sich entlang von Kundenerlebnissen und -prozessen auf einem höheren Aggregationslevel neu strukturieren. Diese neue Aggregationsebene ist typischerweise das sogenannte Business-Ecosystem.