How are actor dynamics balanced in ecosystems? : An in-depth case study of an autonomous maritime transportation ecosystem

Evgeniya Tsytsyna*, Teemu Valminen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Numerous studies have investigated the formation of network relationships, but few have addressed the actual process of maintaining balance in interorganizational dynamics of networks. Even more, the topic has remained largely unexplored in the context of ecosystems, where simultaneous alignment of multiple actors is needed. This paper advances understanding on ecosystems’ actor alignment from a network dynamics perspective. Through an in-depth single case study, the paper reviews how the case ecosystem was orchestrated to create more safe, sustainable, and intelligent maritime transportation industry and how a balance in the interplay among its members was maintained. Our results reveal a nonlinear evolution process of ecosystems, complementing earlier discussion on ecosystems’ lifecycle through centripetal (constructive) and centrifugal (destructive) forces that influence actor dynamics. With the evidence from our case, we conclude that structural design choices and contextual alignment mechanisms are essential to balance the emergent forces. We find four alignment mechanisms that ecosystem orchestrators can leverage: (i) complementation: driving network effects from idiosyncratic asset providers, (ii) neutral orchestration: stabilizing trust and sharing, (iii) reconfiguration: reshaping of the ecosystem’s targets to maintain a common objective, and (iv) restructuring: coordination activity to shape the required skills to meet the ecosystem’s vision. We further suggest an elaboration to generic ecosystem roles – the role of “leading complementors” or “key complementors”, to distinguish them from generic complementors.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages36
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Aug 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Ecosystem actor alignment
  • Ecosystem alignment
  • Ecosystem collaboration
  • Inter-firm dynamics
  • Market-shaping


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