Emergence in emergency: how actors adapt to service ecosystem disruption

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Marketing scholars are applying the concept of emergence to understand an increasingly unstable world. While what emerges is of interest, the present study enriches conceptualisations of how emergence unfolds through a netnographic study of an online network formed to address the deficiencies of service ecosystems disrupted by Covid-19. We identify how a new network between actors with no prior ties to each other is formed at speed by individuals to integrate unregulated resources, and observe the early emergence of a proto-institution in the form of new practices as actors move quickly to stabilise this network. Initial interactions are prompted by individual vulnerability but sustained by the emergence of a shared conception of vulnerability among surprisingly agentic actors. While these findings stem from a single case of disruption, they suggest that further research which deepens understanding of emergent phenomena in conditions of volatility and uncertainty would be of great value.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113800
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date24 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • Emergence
  • Proto-institution
  • Resource integration
  • Vulnerability

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