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The concept of ecosystem in economic and management studies


Lyudmila A. Ramenskaya, Cand. Sc. (Econ.), Associate Professor of Economic Theory and Corporate Economics Dept. Ural State University of Economics


The concept of ecosystem enjoys growing popularity among academics and practitioners around the globe. However, due to the inconsistent use and the vagueness of definitions, the application of the concept in economic and management studies is impeded. The paper systematizes the prerequisites, theoretical foundations and conceptual framework of ecosystems as a concept for describing a new structure of social relations. The methodological basis of the research is organizational ecology theory, dynamic capabilities theory and neo-institutional theory. Structural-logical, bibliographic and criterion analysis are the main research methods. The article substantiates the expediency of using the prefix “eco-” when describing the interaction between a company and its environment, and indentifies the primary provisions of organizational ecology affecting the emergence of the ecosystem concept. The author examines the intermediate position of the ecosystem in the neo-institutional dichotomy of market– hierarchy. The study discusses the extent to which the ecosystem influences dynamic capabilities of a firm, and demonstrates inconsistencies in using the term “ecosystem” in academic texts. As a result of bibliographic analysis, we distinguish between four central research discourses of the ecosystem concept (business, innovation, entrepreneurial and platform-based ecosystems), as well as establish their terminological peculiarities and main research avenues. The results obtained can be used to develop the theory of ecosystems and describe ecosystems of real business.


ecosystem concept; business ecosystem; innovation ecosystem; entrepreneurial ecosystem; platform-based ecosystem.

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For citation: Ramenskaya L.A. (2020). The concept of ecosystem in economic and management studies. Upravlenets – The Manager, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 16–28. DOI: 10.29141/2218-5003-2020-11-4-2.