Risk management in a business ecosystem
Abstract: Purpose - The purpose of this thesis is to advance the understanding of risk exposure and management for different roles in business ecosystems. The following research questions have been derived to fulfill this purpose: RQ1: Which risks are different business ecosystem roles exposed to, and in what way? RQ2: How can business ecosystem actors mitigate risks? Method – A single case study has been conducted on a business ecosystem surrounding the development of autonomous cars in the EU. An abductive and qualitative approach has been applied, which allowed the combination of existing literature and new empirical findings as to the foundation for building new theory. Data was collected through 21 semi-structured interviews and analyzed through comparison between codes on risks, roles, and risk mitigation strategies. Findings – The already existing literature on business ecosystem risks was confirmed and nuanced. On top of this, two new risks were found, disintermediation risk (the risk of being fully or partially excluded from the ecosystem) and accountability risk (the risk of being responsible for other business ecosystem actors output to a third party). The findings also declare that risks vary between actors, but also due to other factors such as investment in the ecosystem and an actor's relative size to other actors. Finally, suggested risk response strategies for each risk were derived. Theoretical implications - We have contributed to the literature on risks within business ecosystems by adding two new risks: disintermediation risk and accountability risk. We have also contributed to the overall literature on business ecosystems by combining the two sub-streams risks in business ecosystems and roles in business ecosystems. In addition to the theoretical implications for the business ecosystem literature, we have contributed to the risk management literature by applying it in the new context of business ecosystemsto extend the applicability of the risk management literature. Practical implications - Our findings shed light on how risks are distributed between different roles and can therefore provide guidance in this issue. The current study also contributes to the understanding of how risks vary with respect to other factors than roles, which could be valuable knowledge for managers. Finally, practical guidance on how risks can be mitigated is presented which is valuable for any actor in a Business ecosystem.
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