Theory and practice of collaborative value creation and value capture in the context of a real estate service ecosystem

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Management and International Business (MIB)
72 + 21
The growing importance of service ecosystems as central entities of inter-organizational collaboration has required companies to adopt a new approach to value creation. Instead of focusing on profit maximization on an organizational level, networked organizations need to engage in collective action where shared value can be created. Although research on service innovation emphasizes the need for balancing value creation and value capture between ecosystem actors, the detailed ingredients for viable business-to-business (B2B) relationships are still underexplored. Here, the vast network of actors with complex structural, economic, and social relations forms a setting where contributions by one actor may influence how its value is perceived by others. By conducting a single case research on an emergent real estate service ecosystem, this research gains insights on how the complexity, business-criticality, and required expertise of B2B service ecosystems affect the formation of value co-creation. Contextual, in-depth analysis allows for the refinement of theoretical constructs to align with empirical findings more accurately. While the theoretical foundation of the research lies on service-dominant logic, empirical findings are linked to it by conducting multiple interviews with the ecosystem orchestrator and potential partner organizations. Overall, the research follows a disciplined theory elaboration approach, where the grounded theory is specified with empirical patterns organized by four p’s model of creativity. Two research questions that cover both theoretical and practical aspects of collaborative value creation and value capture are discussed. First, the commonalities and contradictions in value co-creation findings of the emergent ecosystem are identified and analyzed. Second, suggestions are presented for the creation of a viable service ecosystem where collaborative value is created with partners without losing the orchestrator’s position to value capture. The research presents three context-specific propositions that yield significant implications for practitioners and fertile ground for future research on service ecosystems. First, although ecosystems are generally seen beneficial for their participants, incumbents tend to defend their competitive positions by creating overlapping microecosystems. To avoid this challenge, it is suggested that the orchestrator needs to be flexible in enabling collaboration with different partners. Second, protectionism towards own solutions restricts the realization of open data flow. Developing inter-organizational trust and contractual agreements form the foundation for collaboration that can break down the traditional silos. Third, emergent ecosystems need to convince their value proposition to end customers and adopt monetization strategies based on the provided value. Therefore, to avoid destroying value, it is essential for the orchestrator to define their monetization strategies early on.
Thesis advisor
van der Giessen, Mark
value co-creation, value capture, service-dominant logic, service innovation, ecosystems, platforms, partner engagement, inter-organizational collaboration
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