A framework for analyzing technology ecosystems – adopting insight from biology

  • Elisabeth EppingerEmail author
  • Daniel Ehls


Technology Ecosystems perspective has become a preferred approach to analyze complex interactions and integrate several domains like Technology Management, Innovation Management and Strategy. However, our understanding of ecosystems in management continues to remain limited. Management literature frequently speaks about ecosystems only in terms of a ‘complex system’ and highlights interactions without further differentiation. Enriching this perspective, we propose to adopt insights from biology, which has developed a far more detailed taxonomy for studying ecosystems. Transferring these insights can help management scholars gain a more nuanced understanding. Applying this ‘bridging’ idea to link the ‘management ecosystem’ perspective and ‘behavioral ecosystems’, this paper seeks to increase our understanding in multiple ways: (1) We refine our understanding of ecosystems with an aligned taxonomy; (2) We disentangle the relationships among different ecosystem layers, actors, and technologies; and (3) We provide an instrument to advance management research and structure future research on sustainable technology adoption and diffusion. We provide a taxonomy that differentiates dynamic, co-evolving technologies in co-evolving industry ecosystems.


Inventive Analogies Technology Ecosystems Industry Ecosystems Biomimicry 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forschung für Textiltechnologie und NachhaltigkeitHochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Technologie- und InnovationsmanagementHelmut-Schmidt-Universität HamburgHamburgGermany

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