Barriers and drivers for the Operations Management researcher as a facilitator of coopetition towards new Sustainable Eco-systems

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaperResearchpeer-review


The importance of industrial and operations management for a more sustainable future is evident. Emerging innovations and technologies can assist this change but sustaining a better world require collaboration. To really make an impact and increase industrial sustainability (IS) (Riesener et al., 2019) new types of networks and collaborations must thus be formed. Entire business eco-systems (Peltoniemi and Vuori, 2004), also including universities and researchers, must actively work towards IS in supply chains to reduce energy and material consumption.

Given the nature of industrial supply chains, new processes and solutions must be developed and implemented across several organizations and in some cases across competitors. Collaboration between competing organizations to reach shared goals is described by the concept of coopetition (Nalebuff et al., 1996). Through the dynamic process of coopetition, “economic actors jointly create value through cooperative interaction, while they simultaneously compete to capture part of that value” as defined by Bouncken et al. (2015).

Previous research has demonstrated that coopetition can both mitigate and improve the efforts in IS (Mirzabeiki et al., 2021) whilst also mitigate the success of business ecosystems (Hannah and Eisenhardt, 2018). It is however highlighted by (Mirzabeiki et al., 2021, Wilhelm, 2011) that for successful coopetition, a neutral 3rd party facilitator is an enabler for successful value creation and learning. These findings have led to the development of the conceptual framework for increased IS whilst also raising the question of: How can and should the OM researcher engage in research projects for new sustainable business eco-systems where coopetition is involved?

To investigate the researcher role in this regard, a workshop with 24 participants was hosted at the ScAIEM 2022 conference in Uppsala, to capture the viewpoints and reflections from the research community. First, the participants received an introduction to the key concepts and an outline of the remaining workshop. Second, the workshop participants were divided randomly into four discussion groups and asked to select a minute taker and a discussion facilitator. In addition, the discussions were recorded and transcribed to facilitate data analysis and to triangulate data. Third, each group were asked to discuss four predefined key questions pertaining to the main research question. The data transcribed from the group discussions were analysed through descriptive text coding (Miles et al., 2018).

The findings include the identification of several themes that were highlighted across the groups. The themes were grouped as drivers and barriers for researchers in the industrial and operations management field for engaging in research projects with multiple organizations where coopetition is involved. The findings clearly identify a wide verity of experiences and approaches to engaging in multi-organizational research projects, while different beliefs of how to engage as a researcher were discussed. Furthermore, it was found that the role of the researcher was viewed very differently between participants. Furthermore, findings includeed a detailed overview of critical researcher abilities to successfully balance the barriers and drivers for engagement and working in a facilitating capacity.

The authors would like the opportunity to present and elaborate on the findings of this study with the ScAIEM community and collect reflections, comments, and further viewpoints to the study.

Presentation type: Research presentation/workshop

BOUNCKEN, R. B., GAST, J., KRAUS, S. & BOGERS, M. 2015. Coopetition: a systematic review, synthesis, and future research directions. Review of Managerial Science, 9, 577-601.
HANNAH, D. P. & EISENHARDT, K. M. 2018. How firms navigate cooperation and competition in nascent ecosystems. Strategic Management Journal, 39, 3163-3192.
MIRZABEIKI, V., HE, Q. & SARPONG, D. 2021. Sustainability-driven co-opetition in supply chains as strategic capabilities: drivers, facilitators, and barriers. International Journal of Production Research, 1-27.
NALEBUFF, B. J., BRANDENBURGER, A. & MAULANA, A. 1996. Co-opetition, HarperCollinsBusiness London.
PELTONIEMI, M. & VUORI, E. Business ecosystem as the new approach to complex adaptive business environments. Proceedings of eBusiness research forum, 2004. 267-281.
RIESENER, M., DÖLLE, C. & KUHN, M. 2019. Innovation Ecosystems for Industrial Sustainability. Procedia CIRP, 80, 27-32.
WILHELM, M. M. 2011. Managing coopetition through horizontal supply chain relations: Linking dyadic and network levels of analysis. Journal of Operations Management, 29, 663-676.

Original languageEnglish
Publication date29. Nov 2023
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 29. Nov 2023
Event11th Scandinavian Conference on Industrial Engineering and Management, ScAIEM 2023 - Kongsberg, Norway
Duration: 29. Nov 20231. Dec 2023


Conference11th Scandinavian Conference on Industrial Engineering and Management, ScAIEM 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Barriers and drivers for the Operations Management researcher as a facilitator of coopetition towards new Sustainable Eco-systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this