The main purpose of this Ph.D. study is to investigate B2B engagement in Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystems for the purpose of value co-creation, coined in this study as IoT engagement. Engagement research has been within the aim of several researchers in the past and has taken new forms and shapes throughout time. However, due to advances in digital technologies such as the IoT, engagement research needs to be revised, reexamined and new market challenges need to be considered when engaging customers, partners, and other actors in value co-creating activities in IoT ecosystems (Storbacka, et al., 2016; Kleinaltenkamp, et al., 2019).

The IoT has brought several changes into B2B markets by opening up new avenues for innovation, such as access to data on end-users in real-time, personalized offerings, automation of processes, and predictive maintenance of machinery, among others (Leminen, et al., 2017; Lopez, et al., 2021). The IoT is not only changing how companies operate by adding a new technology to their businesses, but it is transforming the very nature of a business (Parker, et al., 2017; Hein, et al., 2019; Tóth, et al., 2022). It transforms goods providers to become service providers and requires additional actors to join the service ecosystem built around the IoT, framed as an IoT ecosystem. In an IoT ecosystem, companies are part of extended business networks, both collaborating and competing with each other with high degree of interdependencies and interconnectedness (Anggraeni et al., 2007). B2B actors in IoT ecosystems are characterized by diversity and have much more complex relationships with each other (Perks et al., 2017) as they are now not only able to interact and connect with people but also with technology (such as machine actors) on different levels of integration (Storbacka & Cornell, 2016; Castro-Leaon & Harmon, 2016; Storbacka et al., 2016). To fully capture the value of the IoT, companies need to think beyond their own business networks and join ecosystems that will enable them to share and have access to both tangible and intangible IoT resources. This would suggest that companies need new theorizations and conceptualizations of relationship building, maintaining, and enhancing in complex business settings characterized by higher interconnectedness, interdependencies, and interaction with both human and non-human actors.

In the past, it has been suggested that maintaining and enhancing relationships can be reached with engaging actors (Pansari & Kumar, 2017; Brodie, et al., 2019). This is also true for value cocreation in IoT ecosystems. To this end, in this study, IoT engagement is investigated by looking 4 at the theoretical side of IoT engagement and applying case study research to get insights from the empirical world.

The theoretical insights are represented in this thesis in paper 1, where a conceptual framework is built based on an integrative literature review. The conceptual framework explains IoT engagement, its antecedents, and outcomes. It highlights the perspectives on markets that need to be adapted, namely the ecosystem perspective and the Service-Dominant logic (S-D logic) perspective and acknowledges IoT engagement as a three-dimensional construct consisting of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dispositions.

The empirical insights are represented by papers 2 and 3, where paper 2 looks into the mechanisms that enhance IoT engagement with multiple case study research. The results of this research stemmed a hierarchical layered framework that explains the mechanisms on three hierarchical levels. There are mechanisms that effect IoT engagement on a macro-micro level, on a micromicro level, and on a micro-macro level.

Paper 3 dedicates the investigation into the barriers to IoT engagement. Here the barriers on different organizational levels are examined. From a company level (employees, management, business units) to the relational level (customers, partners), and finally, the ecosystem level (the extended network, third parties).

Together all three papers answer the main research question: What is IoT engagement?
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • Freytag, Per Vagn, Principal supervisor
  • Gretzinger, Susanne, Co-supervisor
Date of defence21. Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2. Jan 2023

Note re. dissertation

Print copy of the thesis is restricted to reference use in the Library. 


Dive into the research topics of 'Internet of Things Engagement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this