Re-storying the Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Concepts: The Model-Narrative Review Method

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We propose a novel literature review method in order to systematically trace and reveal the dominant narratives of a body of literature: the model-narrative review method. We apply this method to an ever-growing literature on ecosystems in business studies, as it resembles a rich knowledge base with somewhat competing, overarching stories, replete with emplotted characters, systematic puzzles and embellished scientific drama. To interpret these unfolding storylines, we both separately engage with and connect seminal work on business, entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems. Through thematic reading we map the key themes and scientific puzzles in each ecosystem type. Through enstoried reading we identify how authors construct the plot, narrative setting, emplotted characters, narrative voices and moral lessons around ecosystems. Through rhetorical reading we explicate the rhetorical devices and strategies that claim the relevance of their work. Our findings expose a number of hidden meanings and underlying assumptions, adding transparency to ecosystem rhetorics and enhancing conceptual clarity. Altogether, this method offers a systematic construction of model-narratives to synthesize and critically reflect upon similarities and differences between related concepts and opens up space for alternative research questions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Management Reviews
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)10-32
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2020
Externally publishedYes