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Nurturing business ecosystems to deal with industry uncertainties

Ke Rong (The Business School, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK)
Yongjiang Shi (Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
Jiang Yu (Institute of Policy and Management, China Academy of Science, Beijing, People's Republic of China)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 15 March 2013




The purpose of this paper is to explore the ways in which firms nurture the business ecosystem for the development of emerging industries.


The research uses a qualitative research methodology with multiple case studies, namely two groups of companies in the PC and mobile business ecosystems.


This paper argues that industry renewal or emergence relies on the convergence and evolutionary process of the relevant business ecosystems. It analyzes the challenges faced by emerging industries, especially uncertainty issues concerning technology, application, and market. To deal with these uncertainty issues, firms within business ecosystems have developed two kinds of strategies: the core‐firm platform strategy and the niche‐firm supplementary strategy with an integrated supply chain. By using such strategies, firms together follow a three‐step process, including adjustment, adoption, and convergence, to help nurture the emerging industry.

Research limitations/implications

This study only conducts interviews with industrial practitioners in the mobile computing business ecosystem, without covering other stakeholders.

Practical implications

First, the study describes the platform and supplementary strategies to deal with industry uncertainties; second, the analysis also identifies a three‐step collective behavior to achieve industry convergence.


The paper extends the study of business ecosystem theory into supply chain management by embedding different roles and strategies as well as collective behavior into a dynamic business environment.



Rong, K., Shi, Y. and Yu, J. (2013), "Nurturing business ecosystems to deal with industry uncertainties", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 113 No. 3, pp. 385-402.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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