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The emergence of smart service ecosystems—The role of socio-technical antecedents and affordances
As physical products are increasingly augmented with digital technology, manufacturing firms have become part of the development of so-called smart products and smart services. As such, manufacturing firms are challenged by new market participants and ecosystem partners, particularly from the software development industry, and by the dynamic nature of business relationships. While the academic literature on the distinctive characteristics of ecosystems, particularly digital ecosystems, is rich, the effect of smart service ecosystems' emergence on the foundation of smart products remains uncertain. This study reports on case study research based on 47 semi-structured interviews with four companies that participate in an industrial smart service ecosystem. Taking an affordance-theoretic perspective, we uncover the antecedents of and the process of emergent smart service ecosystems. We find that smart service ecosystems have three socio-technical antecedents: a shared worldview, structural flexibility and integrity, and architecture of participation. We explain the emergence of smart service ecosystems as the result of specialisation in shared affordances and integration of idiosyncratic affordances into collective affordances. We derive seven propositions regarding the emergence of smart services, outline opportunities for further research, and present practical guidelines for manufacturing firms.
See more at: Herterich, M. M., Dremel, C., Wulf, J., & vom Brocke, J. (2022). The emergence of smart service ecosystems—The role of socio‐technical antecedents and affordances. Information Systems Journal. https://doi.org/10.1111/isj.12412