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

The Emergence and Coordination of Synchrony in Organizational Ecosystems

Collaboration and Competition in Business Ecosystems

ISBN: 978-1-78190-826-6, eISBN: 978-1-78190-827-3

Publication date: 26 August 2014


This paper explores the emergence and coordination of synchrony in networked groups like those that develop integrated product platforms in collaborative ecosystems. While synchronized actions are an important objective for many groups, interorganizational network theory has yet to explore synchrony in depth perhaps because it does not fit the typical diffusion models this research relies upon. By adding organizationally realistic features – sparse network structure and intentional coordination – to the firefly model from theoretical biology, I take some first steps in understanding synchrony in organizational groups. Like diffusion, synchrony is more effective in denser networks, but unlike diffusion clustering decelerates synchrony’s emergence. Coordination by a few group members accelerates group-wide synchrony, and benefits the coordinating organizations with a higher likelihood that it converges to the coordinating organization’s preferred rhythm. This likelihood of convergence to an organization’s preferred rhythm – what I term synchrony performance – increases in denser networks, but is not dependent on tie strength and clustering.




I am especially grateful for the insightful comments and generous support of Rebecca Henderson, Ezra Zuckerman, Roberto Fernandez, Deborah Ancona, Wanda Orlikowski, Jan Rivkin, Chris Wheat, Pai-Ling Yin, Kathleen Eisenhardt, Mark Granovetter, Riitta Katila, Christoph Zott, Ron Adner, and seminar participants in the MIT Distributed Leadership Research Group, the BYU/Utah Strategy Conference, and the Academy of Management Meeting. Support for this research was provided by MIT’s Sloan School of Management.


Davis, J.P. (2014), "The Emergence and Coordination of Synchrony in Organizational Ecosystems", Collaboration and Competition in Business Ecosystems (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 197-237.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited