To read this content please select one of the options below:

In search of a consensus definition of business ecosystems: a qualitative study

Vanessa Felch (University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany)
Eric Sucky (University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany)

Journal of Modelling in Management

ISSN: 1746-5664

Article publication date: 14 December 2022




Despite the constantly increasing number of publications in the field of business ecosystems, there are indications that a precise definition that appropriately captures the business ecosystem mindset is not yet available. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to provide a consensus definition of business ecosystems.


Using structured content analysis, this paper examines a total of 43 definitions in terms of their core components.


The results indicate that the existing definitions focus only on single components, e.g. “network of actors,” thereby omitting other essential components, such as “cocreated value proposition” or “shared fate.” Consequently, it seems appropriate to develop a consensus definition that combines the perspectives of the academic and practitioner communities.


The proposed definition is more comprehensive than the prevailing definitions and represents a synthesis of previous considerations on business ecosystems. Such a definition will support researchers in developing a sound business ecosystem theory that will guide practitioners in the efficient design and management of business ecosystems in the long term.



Felch, V. and Sucky, E. (2022), "In search of a consensus definition of business ecosystems: a qualitative study", Journal of Modelling in Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles