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Interorganisational new service development capability in the mobile communications ecosystem

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posted on 31.05.2017, 06:09 by Singaraju, Stephen Pragasam
Advances in platform technologies suggest that the evolution of common digital-media platforms will usher in a proliferation of applications and services in the new media business space. However, organisations are unlikely to develop services on their own because of the diverse range of skills, resources and knowledge required to succeed in the digital age. Organisations specializing in domains as diverse as content development to technology infrastructure provision are increasingly finding themselves structurally dependent on one another through network arrangements such as business ecosystems. They find themselves contributing their specialist competencies in providing end-to-end rich media services such as Mobile TV and Mobile Music services within the context of the business ecosystem. This emerging trend has intrigued new service providers in the mobile services industry in their attempt to understand the underpinning concepts that affect the capability of such business ecosystems to develop new rich media mobile services. This thesis contributes to our understanding of the new service development (NSD) literature in complex business networks with technologically dynamic and structurally changing environment. In understanding how interrelated businesses develop new rich media mobile services on common technological platforms within dynamic business environments, the thesis moves the analytical focus from the level of a focal business to the level of the business ecosystem, a collection of related businesses and institutions. It examines how platform technologies such as Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs) bring about a new business potential in business ecosystems. The thesis identifies the business concepts that impact on NSD capability from two primary dimensions; network interconnectedness and business customer collaboration. Literature suggests that the concepts 'network interconnected' and 'business customer collaboration' are critical in defining interorganisational NSD capability. Network interconnectedness is defined by concepts such as joint dependence, New Service Development Platform (NSDP), network centrality, structural differentiation and co-opetition. The notion of customer collaboration is defined by the concept of lead customer knowledge. The setting for the thesis is the infocoms (IT, Telecommunications and Media industries) sector. The unit of analysis in the thesis is the rich media mobile services business ecosystem. A qualitative approach was adopted to provide; (a) greater depth of insight to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon present in business ecosystems and, (b) to address the lack of, or limited, theoretical frameworks available to guide this research. Being a new phenomenon, case study data was collected to refine the working propositions developed from literature. Theory building follows the process identified by Eisenhardt (1989). The case study approach is based on semi structured interviews that investigates contemporary phenomenon in a real-life context. The key informant technique was employed in selecting respondents for the research. The single case study approach was chosen with the view to developing a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon that characterizes a business ecosystem to assist in theory building. Concerns of external validity were traded off against opportunities to gain greater insights into yet incompletely documented phenomenon. The research findings reveal that joint dependence, New Service Development Platform (NSDP), network centrality, structural differentiation and coopetition affect the capability of the business ecosystem in developing new services. Joint dependence rather than network interconnectedness is the cornerstone concept that affects the new service development capability of business ecosystems. Joint dependence is explained by the notion of embeddedness; mutual empathy and mutual commitment; structural congruence; and familiarity and mutual forbearance displayed in the actions of actors within the business ecosystem. The concept of a New Service Development Platform (NSDP) that affects the capability of a business ecosystem in developing new services provides standardized reusable components that are important to the service development capability of the business ecosystem. This modular feature of the NSDP provides the fundamental building blocks for the Mobile TV service which enables the business ecosystem to reduce service development time and costs; as a result enabling the business ecosystem to create a proliferation of services and variety of niche services. Network centrality emphasizes the importance of key organisations in the overall structure, the well-being and the future prospects of the business ecosystem. The evidence deduced from this thesis indicates that the determinants of network centrality (i.e. the framework of SLAs in the ecosystem guided by the primary SLAs between the primary actors, New Service Development Platform (NSDP) and the Interorganisational New Service Development Framework (INSDF) ) provides for the visibility and attractiveness of the network operator as the central actor in the ecosystem. Structural differentiation suggests that the emergent systemic property that actors (organisations) come to occupy in an identifiable set of network positions is in fact niches. Actors‘ unique and specialized area of competencies promotes the necessity for business ecosystems to be on a constant search for such niche actors within and without the business ecosystem to ensure the vitality and the capability of the business ecosystem in creating new rich media services. The creation of niches according to the evidence deduced in this thesis indicate a joint niche creation initiative; a systematic effort in strategic niche management initiatives; and the diligent management of key technologies on a trial and error basis on the part of the primary actors in the Mobile TV ecosystem. Finally, the analysis of the notion of coopetition in this research reveals that it is not merely the dynamics of coopetition that contribute to the new service development capability of the ecosystem. Rather the evidence suggests that the dynamic forces of a coopetitive relationship between actors enable the emergence of dynamic capabilities. It is dynamics capabilities from coopetitive relationships that make the contribution to increased new service development capability of the Mobile TV ecosystem.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Samir Gupta

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Business and Economics