Entrepreneurial ecosystems as fields: Integrating meso-level institutional theory

Carolin Auschra
  • Corresponding author
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Management-Department, Boltzmannstr. 20, 14195 Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • Email
  • Search for other articles:
  • degruyter.comGoogle Scholar
, Thomas Schmidt and Joerg Sydow

Abstract

Contemporary works on entrepreneurial ecosystems (EEs) suffer from a lack of theorization. We address this problem by conceptualizing EEs as institutional fields, which is an analytical construct that is already well-elaborated on in neo-institutional theory. This theory provides a processual lens that is sensitive to the role of both institutions and agency in field structuration. Additionally, understanding EEs as fields can help to capture dynamics within EEs as well as their relationships with other fields. Following this approach, entrepreneurial issue fields mainly focus on debates around entrepreneurship and new venture creation, whereas entrepreneurial exchange fields focus on products and services produced by and offering support for a set of mainly industry-specific new ventures. In addition, we discuss mechanisms for transformations between both types of fields.

  • Ács, Z. J./Estrin, S./Mickiewicz, T./Szerb, L. (2018): Entrepreneurship, institutional economics, and economic growth: An ecosystem perspective. In: Small Business Economics, (51)2, 501–514.

  • Ács, Z. J./Stam, E./Audretsch, D. B./O’Connor, A. (2017): The lineages of the entrepreneurial ecosystem approach. In: Small Business Economics, (49)1, 1–10.

  • Adner, R. (2017): Ecosystem as structure. An actionable construct for strategy. In: Journal of Management, (43)1, 39–58.

  • Aldrich, H. E./Fiol, C. M. (1994): Fools rush in? The institutional context of industry creation. In: Academy of Management Review, (19)4, 645–670.

  • Alvedalen, J./Boschma, R. (2017): A critical review of entrepreneurial ecosystems research. Towards a future research agenda. In: European Planning Studies, (25)6, 887–903.

  • Audretsch, D. B./Belitski, M. (2017): Entrepreneurial ecosystems in cities. Establishing the framework conditions. In: The Journal of Technology Transfer, (42)5, 1030–1051.

  • Auschra, C./Braun, T./Schmidt, T./Sydow, J. (2018): Patterns of project-based organizing in new venture creation. Projectification of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. In: International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, (13)4, 645–668.

  • Autio, E./Kenney, M./Mustar, P./Siegel, D./Wright, M. (2014): Entrepreneurial innovation: The importance of context. In: Research Policy, (43)7, 1097–1108.

  • Autio, E./Nambisan, S./Thomas, L. D. W./Wright, M. (2018): Digital affordances, spatial affordances, and the genesis of entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, (12)1, 72–95.

  • Autio, E./Thomas, L. D. W. (2016): Tilting the playing field: Towards an endogenous strategic action theory of ecosystem creation. In: Nambisan, S. (Ed.): Open innovation, innovation ecosystems, and entrepreneurship. Multidisciplinary perspectives. Singapore, 1–39.

  • Bathelt, H./Glückler, J. (2014): Institutional change in economic geography. In: Progress in Human Geography, (38)3, 340–363.

  • Bathelt, H./Malmberg, A./Maskell, P. (2004): Clusters and knowledge: Local buzz, global pipelines and the process of knowledge creation. In: Progress in Human Geography, (28)1, 31–56.

  • Battilana, J./Leca, B./Boxenbaum, E. (2009): How actors change institutions. Towards a theory of institutional entrepreneurship. In: Academy of Management Annals, (3)1, 65–107.

  • Beckert, J. (2010): How do fields change? The interrelations of institutions, networks, and cognition in the dynamics of markets. In: Organization Studies, (31)5, 605–627.

  • Berthod, O./Sydow, J. (2010): Locked in the iron cage? When institutionalization is (not) a path-dependent process. In: Schreyögg, G. (Ed.): The hidden dynamics of path dependence. Institutions and organizations. 1. Ed. Basingstoke, 204–229.

  • Bourdieu, P. (1985): The social space and the genesis of groups. In: Theory and Society, (14)6, 723–744.

  • Bresnahan, T./Gambardella, A./Saxenian, A. (2001): ‘Old Economy’ inputs for ‘New Economy’ outcomes: Cluster formation in the New Silicon Valleys. In: Industrial and Corporate Change, (10)4, 835–860.

  • Brown, R./Mason, C. (2017): Looking inside the spiky bits. A critical review and conceptualisation of entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Small Business Economics, (49)1, 11–30.

  • Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (2019): de hub digital ecosystems. Berlin. https://www.de-hub.de/die-hubs/berlin (10.02.2019).

  • Cohen, B. (2006): Sustainable valley entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Business Strategy and the Environment, (15)1, 1–14.

  • Davis, G. F./Marquis, C. (2005): Prospects for organization theory in the early twenty-first century. Institutional fields and mechanisms. In: Organization Science, (16)4, 332–343.

  • DiMaggio, P. J./Powell, W. W. (1983): The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. In: American Sociological Review, (48)2, 147–160.

  • Drori, I./Honig, B./Sheaffer, Z. (2009): The life cycle of an internet firm: Scripts, legitimacy, and identity. In: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, (33)3, 715–738.

  • Evans, R./Kay, T. (2008): How environmentalists “greened” trade policy: Strategic action and the architecture of field overlap. In: American Sociological Review, (73)6, 970–991.

  • Faulconbridge, J./Muzio, D. (2019): Field partitioning: The emergence, development and consolidation of subfields. In: Organization Studies, (19), in press.

  • Fligstein, N./McAdam, D. (2012): A theory of fields. Oxford.

  • Furnari, S. (2014): Interstitial spaces. Microinteraction settings and the genesis of new practices between institutional fields. In: Academy of Management Review, (39)4, 439–462.

  • Furnari, S. (2016): Institutional fields as linked arenas. Inter-field resource dependence, institutional work and institutional change. In: Human Relations, (69)3, 551–580.

  • Furnari, S. (2018): When does an issue trigger change in a field? A comparative approach to issue frames, field structures and types of field change. In: Human Relations, (71)3, 321–348.

  • Gartner, W. B. (1985): A conceptual framework for describing the phenomenon of new venture creation. In: Academy of Management Review, (10)4, 696–706.

  • Giddens, A. (1984): The constitution of society. Outline of the theory of structuration. Cambridge.

  • Greenwood, R./Oliver, C./Sahlin, K./Suddaby, R. (2008): Introduction. In: Greenwood, R. et al. (Eds.): The Sage handbook of organizational institutionalism. Los Angeles, 1–46.

  • Greenwood, R./Raynard, M./Kodeih, F./Micelotta, E. R./Lounsbury, M. (2011): Institutional complexity and organizational responses. In: Academy of Management Annals, (5)1, 317–371.

  • Greenwood, R./Suddaby, R./Hinings, C. R. (2002): Theorizing change: The role of professional associations in the transformation of institutionalized fields. In: Academy of Management Journal, (45)1, 58–80.

  • Hall, P. A./Soskice, D. W. (Eds.) (2001): Varieties of capitalism. The institutional foundations of comparative advantage. Oxford.

  • Hannah, D. P./Eisenhardt, K. M. (2018): How firms navigate cooperation and competition in nascent ecosystems. In: Strategic Management Journal, (43)1, 1–30.

  • Helfen, M. (2015): Institutionalizing precariousness? The politics of boundary work in legalizing agency work in Germany, 1949–2004. In: Organization Studies, (36)10, 1387–1422.

  • Hinings, C. R./Logue, D./Zietsma, C. (2017): Fields, institutional infrastructure and governance. In: Greenwood, R. et al. (Eds.): The SAGE handbook of organizational institutionalism. 2. Ed. Los Angeles, 163–189.

  • Hoang, H./Yi, A. (2015): Network-based research in entrepreneurship: A decade in review. In: Foundations and Trends® in Entrepreneurship, (11)1, 1–54.

  • Hoffman, A. L. (1999): Institutional evolution and change: Environmentalism and the U.S. chemical industry. In: Academy of Management Journal, (42)4, 351–371.

  • Jacobides, M. G./Cennamo, C./Gawer, A. (2018): Towards a theory of ecosystems. In: Strategic Management Journal, (39)8, 2255–2276.

  • Keating, A./Geiger, S./McLoughlin, D. (2014): Riding the practice waves. Social resourcing practices during new venture development. In: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, (38)5, 1207–1235.

  • Kenis, P./Knoke, D. (2002): How organizational field networks shape interorganizational tie-formation rates. In: Academy of Management Review, (27)2, 275–293.

  • Knoben, J./Oerlemans, L.A.G. (2006): Proximity and inter-organizational collaboration. A literature review. In: International Journal of Management Reviews, (8)2, 71–89.

  • Kugoth, J. (2017): Fintech-Startups lieben Berlin. https://www.gruenderszene.de/allgemein/staedteranking-fintechs (16.02.2018).

  • Lampel, J./Meyer, A. D. (2008): Field-configuring events as structuring mechanisms. How conferences, ceremonies, and trade shows constitute new technologies, industries, and markets. In: Journal of Management Studies, (45)6, 1025–1035.

  • Lange, B./Power, D./Suwala, L. (2014): Geographies of field-configuring events. In: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, (58)1, 187–201.

  • Langley, A./Smallman, C./Tsoukas, H./Van de Ven, A. H. (2013): Process studies of change in organization and management: Unveiling temporality, activity, and flow. In: Academy of Management Journal, (56)1, 1–13.

  • Lavie, D. (2006): The competitive advantage of interconnected firms: An extension of the resource-based view. In: Academy of Management Review, (31)3, 638–658.

  • Lawrence, T. B./Suddaby, R. (2006): Institutions and institutional work. In: Clegg, S. R. et al. (Eds.): The Sage handbook of organization studies. 2. Ed. London, 215–254.

  • Lewin, K. (1951): Field theory in social science. Selected theoretical papers. New York.

  • Mack, E./Mayer, H. (2015): The evolutionary dynamics of entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Urban Studies, (53)10, 2118–2133.

  • Malecki, E. J. (2011): Connecting local entrepreneurial ecosystems to global innovation networks: open innovation, double networks and knowledge integration. In: International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, (14)1, 36.

  • Malecki, E. J. (2018): Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Geography Compass, (12)3, e12359.

  • Maskell, P./Bathelt, H./Malmberg, A. (2006): Building global knowledge pipelines: The role of temporary clusters. In: European Planning Studies, (14)8, 997–1013.

  • Mason, C./Brown, R. (2014): Entrepreneurial ecosystems and growth oriented entrepreneurship. The Hague, NL.

  • Micelotta, E./Lounsbury, M./Greenwood, R. (2017): Pathways of institutional change. An integrative review and research agenda. In: Journal of Management, (43)6, 1885–1910.

  • Minto-Koy, I./Elo, M. (2017): Towards an entrepreneurial ecosystem for attracting diaspora investments in Jamaica, (MSBM Business Review)3–4, 28–30.

  • O’Sullivan, N./O’Dwyer, B. (2015): The structuration of issue-based fields. Social accountability, social movements and the Equator Principles issue-based field. In: Accounting, Organizations and Society, (43), 33–55.

  • Owen-Smith, J./Powell, W. W. (2008): Networks and institutions. In: Greenwood, R. et al. (Eds.): The Sage handbook of organizational institutionalism. Los Angeles, 594–621.

  • Pfeffer, J./Salancik, G. R. (1978): The external control of organizations: A resource dependence perspective. New York.

  • Phillips, N./Lawrence, T. B./Hardy, C. (2000): Inter-organizational collaboration and the dynamics of institutional fields. In: Journal of Management Studies, (37)1, 23–43.

  • Pitelis, C. (2012): Clusters, entrepreneurial ecosystem co-creation, and appropriability. A conceptual framework. In: Industrial and Corporate Change, (21)6, 1359–1388.

  • Qian, H./Ács, Z. J./Stough, R. R. (2013): Regional systems of entrepren-eurship: The nexus of human capital, knowledge and new firm formation. In: Journal of Economic Geography, (13)4, 559–587.

  • Radinger-Peer, V./Sedlacek, S./Goldstein, H. (2018): The path-dependent evolution of the entrepreneurial ecosystem (EE) – dynamics and region-specific assets of the case of Vienna (Austria). In: European Planning Studies, (26)8, 1499–1518.

  • Schmidt, S./Müller, F. C./Ibert, O./Brinks, V. (2017): Open Region: Creating and exploiting opportunities for innovation at the regional scale. In: European Urban and Regional Studies, (100)3, 1–19.

  • Schmidt, T./Braun, T./Sydow, J. (2019): Copying routines for new venture creation: How replication can support entrepreneurial innovation. In: Research in Sociology of Organizations, (61), 55–78.

  • Schumpeter, J. A. (1934): The theory of economic development. An inquiry into profits, capital, credit, interest, and the business cycle. New Jersey.

  • Scott, W. R. (2014): Institutions and organizations. Ideas, interests and identities. 4. Ed. Los Angeles, CA.

  • Shane, S./Venkataraman, S. (2000): The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. In: Academy of Management Review, (25)1, 217–226.

  • Slotte-Kock, S./Coviello, N. E. (2010): Entrepreneurship research on network processes: A review and ways forward. In: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, (34)1, 31–57.

  • Sonderegger, P./Täube, F. (2010): Cluster life cycle and diaspora effects: Evidence from the Indian IT cluster in Bangalore. In: Journal of International Management, (16)4, 383–397.

  • Sorenson, O. (2017): Regional ecologies of entrepreneurship. In: Journal of Economic Geography, (17)5, 959–974.

  • Spigel, B. (2017): The relational organization of entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, (41)1, 49–72.

  • Spigel, B./Harrison, R. (2018): Toward a process theory of entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, (12)1, 151–168.

  • Stam, E. (2015): Entrepreneurial ecosystems and regional policy. A sympathetic critique. In: European Planning Studies, (23)9, 1759–1769.

  • Stam, E./Spigel, B. (2017): Entrepreneurial ecosystems. In: Blackburn, R. et al. (Eds.): The Sage handbook of small business and entrepreneurship. London, 407–422.

  • Sternberg, R. (2005): Gründungen und Region. In: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, (49)3–4, 129–130.

  • Stuck, J./Broekel, T./Revilla Diez, J. (2016): Network structures in regional innovation systems. In: European Planning Studies, (24)3, 423–442.

  • Sussan, F./Ács, Z. J. (2017): The digital entrepreneurial ecosystem. In: Small Business Economics, (49)1, 55–73.

  • Teece, D. J. (2007): Explicating dynamic capabilities. The nature and microfoundations of (sustainable) enterprise performance. In: Strategic Management Journal, (28)13, 1319–1350.

  • Thomas, L. D. W./Autio, E. (2016): The ecosystem as an organizational field. Working paper.

  • Thomi, W./Werner, R. (2001): Regionale Innovationssysteme. In: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, (45)1, 202–218.

  • Thompson, T. A./Purdy, J. M./Ventresca, M. J. (2018): How entrepreneurial ecosystems take form: Evidence from social impact initiatives in Seattle. In: Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, (12)1, 96–116.

  • Thornton, P. H./Ocasio, W. (2008): Institutional logics. In: Greenwood, R. et al. (Eds.): The Sage handbook of organizational institutionalism. Los Angeles, 99–129.

  • Tiwana, A./Konsynski, B./Bush, A. A. (2010): Research commentary —Platform evolution. Coevolution of platform architecture, governance, and environmental dynamics. In: Information Systems Research, (21)4, 675–687.

  • Van de Ven, A. H. (1993): The development of an infrastructure for entrepreneurship. In: Journal of Business Venturing, (8)3, 211–230.

  • van Wijk, J./Stam, W./Elfring, T./Zietsma, C./den Hond, F. (2013): Activists and incumbents structuring change: The interplay of agency, culture, and networks in field evolution. In: Academy of Management Journal, (56)2, 358–386.

  • Welter, F. (2011): Contextualizing entrepreneurship – Conceptual challenges and ways forward. In: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, (35)1, 165–184.

  • Windeler, A./Sydow, J. (2001): Project networks and changing industry practices – Collaborative content production in the German television industry. In: Organization Studies, (22)6, 1035–1060.

  • Zietsma, C./Groenewegen, P./Logue, D./Hinings, C. R. (2017): Field or fields? Building the scaffolding for cumulation of research on institutional fields. In: Academy of Management Annals, (11)1, 391–450.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
$42.00
Price including VAT
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.


Journal + Issues

The primary focus of the German Journal for Economic Geography (ZFW) is on theory-led empirical research about spatial economic structures and regional dynamics. ZFW, which is the only scientific journal on Economic Geography in German speaking countries, addresses scientists and students as well as decision makers in private firms and economic promotion agencies.

Search