Wananga landing Wananga landing

UC Business School Ecosystems Symposium

01 February 2024

Call for Papers:

Ecosystems – A Transdisciplinary Approach

Symposium Location: University of Canterbury (UC), UC Business School, Christchurch, New Zealand

Symposium Dates: Wed, 10 April – Fri, 12 April 2024

This event has ended

Download the programme

Download (application/pdf, 547 KB)

NZ$ 275.00 (Academics); NZ$ 150.00 (PG Students)

The Marketing and Tourism Group at the University of Canterbury has a longstanding interest in application of systems thinking in marketing, consumption, and tourism studies (Aquino et al., 2018; Finsterwalder & Kuppelwieser, 2020; Hall, 2022; Huang et al., 2022; Kemper & Ballantine, 2020; Kennedy, 2017; Ozanne et al., 2018; Morrish et al., 2020; Prayag, 2023; Veer et al., 2021). This symposium provides a forum in which the development, application, and appropriateness of the ecosystem concept in a business and consumer studies context and beyond is rigorously examined and discussed. It aims at answering the following question:

How can employing and applying the concept of ecosystems assist with solving society’s big challenges or wicked problems?

The notion of an ecosystem has long been present in indigenous conceptions of life and being in the world (McGregor et al., 2020; Pierotti & Wildcat, 2000). For Māori as the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, there is a view of being part of an environmental ecosystem and an interdependence between the system and humans in the form of reciprocal relationships entailing caring for the land and caring for the people (Harmsworth & Awatere, 2013).

This also equates to ecosystem’s original meaning as referred to an interacting community of organisms and their environment (DeAngelis & Waterhouse, 1987; De Meester et al., 2019; Kraft et al., 2015) which has been one of the basic building blocks of ecology and the environmental sciences (Bowman & Hacker, 2023; Leibold, 1995; McCallen et al., 2019; Orians, 1975). However, in recent years the term has come to be used as a means of describing non-biological interacting systems and complex networks, particularly in relation to entrepreneurship, innovation, business, and policy (Daymond, 2023; Hall, 2016; Holgersson et al., 2022; Jacobides et al., 2018; Malecki, 2018; Moore, 1993; Ratten, 2020; Shipilov & Gawer, 2020).

The adaption of biological science thinking to the social sciences and to business studies especially is, of course, not new. Business students talk about businesses adapting to their environment and evolving, while the life cycle concept also has biological connections (Beinhocker, 2006; Osland, 1991). The notion of resilience, popularised especially because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, has also been drawn from ecological theory (Hall et al., 2017; Roundy et al., 2017). There is therefore an entire lexicon of ecological and biological thinking in marketing and business studies (Baum et al., 1994; Lewin, 1999; Seidel & Greve, 2017; Statt, 2004).

Yet, questions are increasingly being asked about the appropriateness of applying the ecosystem idea outside of natural science context and if it is a useful analogue or whether it provides a rigorous theoretical framework or, as Fuller et al. (2019) suggested, is it potentially another buzzword marked by ‘semantic overstretch’? Therefore, does the ecosystem concept provide a solid bridge between the social and natural sciences or is it just another example of academic fashion?

The symposium format is a blend of presentations, panel sessions and research paper workshops. Due to its transdisciplinary focus Day 1 and 2 are dedicated to an overview of the different conceptualisations and viewpoints relating to ecosystems as well as short “snapshot” presentations of current research projects. Day 3 is an optional workshop day (self-catered) where teams of symposium participants can get together to work on shaping papers to be submitted to a journal. 

Work-in-progress papers and accompanying presentations are therefore invited on, but not limited to the topics outlined below. Interested participants should send a 250-word abstract to the co-chairs. Participants who want to attend without presenting should send a 250-word statement with a rationale why you would like to attend. For both types of symposium attendance please send your abstract / statement to the symposium email Submissions closed on 1 March 2024.

  • Development of the ecosystems concept in the natural and social sciences
  • Entrepreneurial ecosystems
  • Service ecosystems
  • Ecosystems and wellbeing
  • Innovation ecosystems
  • Ecosystems and the associational economy
  • Ecosystems and resilience
  • Ecosystems and micromarketing
  • Ecosystems and tourism
  • Business ecology
  • Evolutionary concepts and their application in business studies
  • Ecosystem and network analysisEcosystems and behaviour change

Connect with UC Business

Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.