Business Ecosystems Research Group (BERG)
The Business Ecosystems Research Group (BERG) is dedicated to researching innovation, strategy, business relationships, entrepreneurship, operational management and supply chains, and sustainability within inter-organisational networks.
BERG’s research focus is to understand how value is created, captured, distributed, and appropriated across ecosystems surrounding particular projects, technologies, innovations, and generally interaction processes.
Vision and mission
BERG is a platform for research on business ecosystems, particularly with regard to systemic and interactive phenomena of business life. As such, research in BERG emphasises the spatial and temporal dynamics around managerial decisions within business systems. Research issues include the capabilities needed to manage in business relationships and networks, aspects of path dependencies in business systems and innovation activities, or the interplay between inter-organisational and social relationships between actors. Furthermore, ethical aspects of managing in business networks (e.g. how activities around corporate social responsibility affect business relationships as well as the overall business ecosystem) and issues around sustainability of actors and systems are a focus of BERG.
Specific research projects cover different industry ecosystems surrounding business networks in healthcare, energy, manufacturing and services, urban and transportation systems, inventor networks, science and technology parks, accounting regulations, and natural resource industries.
BERG has three main streams of research:
- Business relationships and networks
- Innovation and entrepreneurship systems, and
- Sustainable systems
What we do
“BERG provides a platform for scholars including academics and PhD students at Queen Mary University of London who are interested in understanding systemic and interactive phenomena in business life. We believe that actors, such as business organisations and managers, are not acting and deciding independently of their environment but that an understanding of the embeddedness of such actors in their systemic environment is providing important insights into understanding managerial and business phenomena.” Professor Stephan Henneberg – BERG Director
For general enquiries, please contact BERG@qmul.ac.uk
The Business Ecosystems Research Group (BERG) brings together academics and senior professionals with extensive experience of researching and leading some of the world's top businesses firms.
Director of BERG
Professor Henneberg joined the School of Business and Management in summer 2013. He is the Chair Professor of Marketing and Strategy and Director of BERG. He is also the Head of the Marketing Department. Previously, he held academic appointments at Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, and at the School of Management, University of Bath. He has degrees in Management Studies, Philosophy, Political Sciences, and Economics, and obtained his PhD in Marketing from the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. Before coming back to academia, he worked in senior positions as a management consultant with A.T. Kearney and McKinsey & Co.
Senior Lecturer in Information ManagementDr Panos Panagiotopoulos is a Lecturer in Information Management. His research examines the impact of information technology on political and administrative processes, with focus on public engagement, social media, and digital research methods. He has collaborated with central and local government organisations, including the Food Standards Agency, local authorities and DEFRA on issues of social media monitoring, government responsiveness and information flows around regulatory decisions.
Professor in Organisational Theory and Behaviour
Pietro Panzarasa is a Professor at the QMUL and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Complexity Science, Imperial College London. Before joining QMUL, he held appointments at Bocconi University and at the School of Electronics and Computer Science of the University of Southampton, where he joined the Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Group. He also held visiting and postdoctoral positions at Columbia University (New York City) and Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA). His research lies at the intersection of complex systems, social network analysis, and organization science, and has focused on social capital and the evolution of large-scale complex networks in a variety of empirical domains, including smart cities, scientific collaboration, medical innovation, peer support online systems, international trade, technological and transportation systems.
Lecturer in International Business and Strategy
Dr Eleni Lioliou is conducting research in outsourcing/offshoring arrangements. She is highly interested in the governance of these ventures, as well as the various issues pertaining the effectiveness of inter-organizational relationships (including opportunism, conflict resolution, knowledge sharing, transaction costs etc). She is further interested in the investigation of open-innovation business models, emerging markets and aspects of entrepreneurial orientation. Her research has been published in journals such as the Journal of World Business, Journal of Information Technology, Information Systems Journal, International Business Review and Management International Review.
Lecturer in Entrepreneurship
Dr Thomas Zhang is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the School of Business and Management. He conducts research in markets with substantial business challenges, often in developing countries, as well as research on household, entrepreneurial, and corporate finance. Prior to PhD studies at London Business School, he worked globally in finance and management consulting.
Professor in International Business
Dr Lutao Ning is a Professor in International Business at Queen Mary, University of London. Previously he served as Director of International Learning at Queen Mary and was a Lecturer in International Business at Durham University. He holds a PhD degree from the University of Cambridge (Queens’ College), together with an MBA from the University of Liverpool and an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He provides advice to the research centre of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) of the State Council of China (the governing body of 150,000 state owned firms). He is an expert on Innovation, Foreign Direct Investment, and State Owned Enterprises.
Lecturer in Entrepreneurship
Joanne joined QMUL as Lecturer in Entrepreneurship in April 2018. Her scholarly interests are entrepreneurship, innovation and strategy with a focus on digital and high technology sectors. She is a HEA fellow and has considerable teaching experience at BSc, MSc, and MBA level. Previously she held positions at Cambridge University, University of East Anglia and City University of London. Joanne also actively engages in entrepreneurial practices. She founded a digital educational start-up for children to learn Mandarin Chinese, and it was selected as one of the twelve finalists of 5050tech challenge in 2016 – an initiative to champion women entrepreneurs in technology by Baroness Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of lastminute.com.
Professor of Marketing
Alexander Leischnig is Professor of Marketing at the Freiberg University of Technology. Previously he was Reader in Marketing at the School of Business and Management and had academic positions at University of Bamberg and Freiberg University of Technology in Germany. Alexander’s research interests are in the areas of alliance management, relationship management and business digitisation, and cover topics of both business-to-business marketing and business-to-consumer marketing. He is currently Visiting Professor at universities in Germany and Switzerland and he serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Global Scholars of Marketing Science. In addition, Alexander collaborates with business partners from different industries, such as manufacturing, online, retail, and service industries, on a number of marketing and management topics.
Senior Lecturer in Marketing
Dr Nima Heirati is a senior lecturer in Marketing at Surrey University. Previously, he held an academic appointment at Queen Mary University of London, and Newcastle University Business School and was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tasmania. Before joining academia, Dr Heirati held senior positions as a marketing and business development manager at several Middle-Eastern manufacturing firms. His research relates predominantly to the field of Product/Service Innovation, Service Marketing, Business Relationships and Networks, Customer Exprience, and International Marketing Strategy.
Professor Björn Ivens
Professor of Marketing
Professor Björn Ivens visited the School of Business and Management at QMUL from February – July 2016 as part of his sabbatical. Professor Ivens worked with Professor Stephan Henneberg and Dr Sebastian Forkmann (both members of BERG) on research projects in the area of Key Account Management, Pricing, and Ethicality in Business Relationships. Professor Ivens is the author or editor of five books, and has published more than 50 refereed articles and about one hundred conference papers. His expertise in consulting comprises a strong focus on key account management. He is a regular visiting professor at WU Wien, EM Lyon, and the Universities of Geneva and Lugano.
Professor Lars Witell
Professor at the CTF-Service Research Center at Karlstad University (Sweden)
Professor Lars Witell, visited the School of Business and Management at QMUL in September 2015. He worked with Prof Stephan Henneberg, Dr Luato Ning and Dr Sebastian Forkmann (all members of BERG) on research projects in the area of service infusion in business relationships. Lars conducts research on service innovation, customer co-creation and service infusion in manufacturing fi rms. Since 2011, Lars is responsible for an 8-year research program on Service Innovation (6 million USD) that is run in co-operation with companies such as IKEA, Ericsson and Volvo. He has published about 50 papers in scholarly journals as well as in the popular press, such as The Wall Street Journal.
Dr Sebastian Forkmann
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Dr Sebastian Forkmann’s research primarily focuses on business relationships, in particular with business customers or suppliers, and how firms can leverage these relationships in order to stay competitive in fast changing business environments. A main strand of his research focuses on industrial services in the context of innovative business models of traditionally manufacturing-oriented firms, while a second major area of his research is devoted to firm capabilities associated with reconfiguring business relationship portfolios. Sebastian was a member of BERG and Lecturer in Marketing at Queen Mary University of London between 2013-2016.
Dr Daniela Corsaro
Associate Professor of Marketing
Dr Daniela Corsaro visited the School of Business and Management at QMUL in October 2015 and March 2016. Daniela worked with Prof Stephan Henneberg and Dr Sebastian Forkmann (both members of BERG) on research projects in the area of transformative services and service networks. Dr Daniela Corsaro’s key research topics include value processes in business-to-business marketing, sense making and managerial cognition, and inter-organizational innovation processes. Prior to her academic career, she worked for several years at Accenture as well as with merchant banks.
Dr Carla Ramos
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Dr Carla Ramos visited the School of Business and Management at QMUL in March/April 2016. Carla worked with Prof Stephan Henneberg and Dr Sebastian Forkmann on research projects in the area of networking capabilities, network pictures, and innovation networks. Dr Carla Ramos’s current research interests are in the area of business-to-business marketing, cognition in business markets, business and innovation networks, sales, services marketing, strategy and entrepreneurship.
Dr Espen Gressetvold
Associate Professor of Marketing and Innovation
Dr Espen Gressetvold visited the School of Business and Management at QMUL in February to June 2016. Espen worked with Prof Stephan Henneberg and Dr Sebastian Forkmann on research projects in the areas of technology-based companies, innovation, as well as supply and business networks. His research interests cover innovation in technology-based firms, B2B marketing, supply management, inter-organisational relationships and business networks. In addition, he has worked with start-up companies and commercialisation of university research.
BERG’s scholarship is characterised by four foundational tenets:
- Inter-disciplinary, covering business marketing, supply chain management, strategy, organizational behaviour, innovation, and entrepreneurship, to mention only some of the relevant sub-disciplines.
- Inter-organisational as well as intra-organisational, covering systemic phenomena within and between organisations.
- Descriptive/empirical as well as normative, thus ensuring rigour and relevance as well as impact on academic discussion, managerial practice, and policy-making.
- Methodologically pluralistic, covering the application and development of new qualitative as well as quantitative research methods to understand systemic and interactive phenomena. BERG contributes to the development of innovative research methods in management studies, for example, the rigorous application of fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) in the case of social phenomena characterised by the complex interplay of different driver domains, and has developed world-leading method capabilities in certain area
BERG academics are involved in many research collaborations and are taking leadership positions in the dissemination of scholarly knowledge. Furthermore, we collaborate on research with many world’s top businesses, including strategic research collaboration with Mercedes, Hilti, International Hotel Group, and Hatteland.
1. Business Relationship and Networks
- Heirati, N., Henneberg, S. C., Richter, A., & Harste, R. (2019). Differential importance of social and economic determinants of relationship performance in professional services. Industrial Marketing Management, 76, 23-35.
- Forkmann, S, Henneberg, S. C., & Mitrega, M. (2018) "Capabilities in Business Relationships and Networks: Research Recommendations and Directions", Industrial Marketing Management, 74, 4-26.
- Mitrega, M., Forkmann, S., Zaefarian, G., & Henneberg, S. C. (2017). Networking capability in supplier relationships and its impact on product innovation and firm performance. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37(5), 577-606.
2. Innovation and Entrepreneurship Systems
- Thornton, S., Henneberg, S. C., Leischnig, A., & Naude, P. (2019) “It’s in the Mix: How Firms Configure Resource Mobilization for New Product Success.”, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 36, 4, 513-531.
- Forkmann, S., Henneberg, S. C., Witell, L., & Kindström, D. (2017). Driver configurations for successful service infusion. Journal of Service Research, 20(3), 275-291.
- Heirati, N., & Siahtiri, V. (2017). Driving service innovativeness via collaboration with customers and suppliers: Evidence from business-to-business services. Industrial Marketing Management, forthcoming.
- Zaefarian, G., Forkmann, S., Mitręga, M., & Henneberg, S. C. (2017). A capability perspective on relationship ending and its impact on product innovation success and firm performance. Long Range Planning, 50(2), 184-199.
- Forkmann, S., Ramos, C., Henneberg, S. C., & Naudé, P. (2017). Understanding the service infusion process as a business model reconfiguration. Industrial Marketing Management, 60, 151-166.
3. Sustainable Systems
- Chakrabarti, R., Henneberg, S. C., & Ivens, B. (2020). "Open Sustainability: Conceptualizations and Considerations",Industrial Marketing Management,89, 528-534.
- Bowen, F., & Panagiotopoulos, P. (2018). Regulatory roles and functions in information-based regulation: a systematic review. International Review of Administrative Sciences, forthcoming.
- Chakrabarti, R., Ramos, C., & Henneberg, S. (2013). Network dynamics in the UK pharmaceutical network—A network-as-practice perspective. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(3), 356-371.
Books and book chapters
- Bjoern Ivens, Stephan C. Henneberg, Sebastian Forkmann. (2014) “Service Infusion im Industriegütermarketing – Konzept, Wertschöpfung und Wirklichkeit.” In Dienstleistungmanagement und Service Value, eds. Manfred Bruhn, Karsten Hadwich, Forum Dienstleistungmanagement 2014, Wiesbaden: Gabler, 267-282.
- Stephan C. Henneberg, Catherine Pardo, Stefanos Mouzas, Peter Naude. (2014 forthcoming), “Value Dimensions and Relationship Postures in Dyadic 'Key Relationship Programmes’” Handbook of Strategic Account Management, eds. Dianna Woodburn, Kevin Wilson. London: Wiley, 191-204.
BERG has strategic research partnerships with Hilti, IHG, Hatteland, and Mercedes-Benz. For example, BERG has organised, together with the University of Alabama, a one-day academic-practitioner workshop with 50 manufacturing firms in the automotive, aerospace, and construction industry. From this workshop resulted an ongoing research project on service infusion from both the customer and the supplier firm perspective.
Furthermore, BERG has a strategic research collaboration with the Cambridge Service Alliance (CSA), Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge. Currently we are jointly working on a UKRI funded project (together with the University of Sheffield) on understanding digitalisation strategy development processes. BERG and CSA have also recently finished a research collaboration on Digital Business Model Transformation. An initial Practitioner White Paper can be found under:
- Henneberg, Zaki, Abdelaal, Misus, Leischnig (2020) "Driving Business Model Transformation: How Ready is Your Digital Thread", Cambridge Service Alliance, University of Cambridge. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.21873.51045
Besides interactions with our strategic research partners, BERG members are engaged with a wide range of outside bodies, e.g. policy-makers and commercial firms. BERG members have done research with, or consulting projects for the following companies:
- McKinsey & Co
- American Express
- Tekes Finland
- Management Consulting Association
- Daresbury Science and Technology
- Bentley Motorcars
Furthermore, BERG members were involved in executive development engagements with leading companies. For example, Professor Stephan Henneberg is an Engagement Principal with QConsult at Queen Mary University of London, and at BERG Consulting and Executive Development. His clients include:
- G4S Global Leadership Development Programme
- JCB Global Leadership Development Programme
- High Value Manager Programme (open)
- Qinetiq Global Leadership Development Programme
- Accenture: Building Relationships with Clients Workshop
- NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Agency) Management Workshop
- American Express
- Western Union
- Marks & Spencer
QConsult is the home to academic consulting and engagement activities at Queen Mary University of London. QConsult is run by Careers and the Business Ecosystems Research Group (BERG) of the School of Business and Management which provides experienced academics to supervise and mentor consulting and engagement projects. QConsult teams can be used to provide specialist support to entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as large and multinational companies.
QConsult provides expertise and help in all areas of management, such as:
- Business model development and optimisation
- Business and consumer marketing
- Supply chain management and inter-organisational strategy
- Value optimisation of new technologies
- Business relationship and network management
- Organisational optimisation and knowledge management
- Digital networking and public engagement
Stephan Henneberg presents newest research at the Cambridge Services Week
Prof. Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG) presented his newest research on service infusion at the two-day academic workshop on services at the annual Cambridge Services Week, Institute of Manufacturing, University of Cambridge.
Alexander Leischnig joins QMUL and BERG
Dr. Alexander Leischnig (Reader in Marketing) joins QMUL and BERG as a new member of the research group. Dr. Leischnig specialises in strategic marketing, sales management, and is a quantitative method expert. Currently he is developing the use of fsQCA in management studies research.
Stephan Henneberg presents research seminars at CTF, University of Karlstad
Prof. Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG) visited CTF, University of Karlstad, and presented two research seminars on service infusion as well as the fsQCA method. He also discussed research collaborations with Profs. Anders Gustafsson and Lars Witell.
Stephan Henneberg vistis the University of Alabama, USA
Prof. Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG) spend 3 weeks at Culverhouse Colleage of Commerce, University of Alabama, to discuss new research projects with Assistant Professor Sebastian Forkmann and Associate Professor Tom Baker, as well as Assistant Professor Ryan Mullins (Clemson University)
Stephan Henneberg and Jonathan Webb present at the 2017 Academy of Management Conference and win Best Paper Award
Prof. Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG) and Jonathan Webb (PhD student at BERG), together with Sebastian Forkmann (University of Alabama) presented their newest research on business relationships and corruption at the 2017 Academy of Management Conference in Atlanta. They won a Best Paper Award and were also Chan Hahn Award Finalists, Organisation and Supply Chain Management Group of the Academy of Management.
Stephan Henneberg visits University of Bamberg
Prof. Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG) visited the marketing department of the University of Bamberg. He discussed research collaboration on issues around service infusion with Profs. Ivens and Leischnig.
Stephan Henneberg presents a research seminar at Nottingham University Business School
Prof. Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG) presented his newest research on service infusion at an academic seminar hosted by the Nottingham University Business School. In particular, Prof. Henneberg introduced different studies on service infusion as part of an ongoing research programme in this area, which is being conducted together with colleagues from the University of Alabama, USA, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, INSPER, Brazil, the University of Leeds, UK, and the University of Paderborn, Germany.
Dr Samuel Tang guest lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Dr Samuel Tang delivered a guest lecture for the “Climate Change Responses” postgraduate module at RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) on government-led responses to climate change in the UK. In particular, Dr Tang discussed evidence-based policy and the development of usable and useful climate science to inform decision-making, as well as mandatory carbon reporting schemes and business responses to these.
BERG hosts Junior Professor Alexander Leischnig from the University of Bamberg
Professor Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG) hosted Professor Alexander Leischnig (University of Bamberg, Germany) for a short research visit. Profs. Henneberg and Leischnig worked together on new research regarding combinatory effects of the business environment and resource tie mobilization on new product innovation performance. The research is conducted together with Dr. Sabrina Thornton (University of Huddersfield, UK) and Prof. Peter Naude (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK).
Prof. Stephan Henneberg publishes new research on service infusion
Prof. Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG) has published a new ABS 4-ranked article on ""Driver Configurations for Successful Service Infusion"" in the Journal of Service Research. The research was conducted with colleagues from the University of Alabama, USA (Dr. Sebastian Forkmann), and Linköping University/CTF Karlstad (Profs. Lars Witell and Daniel Kindstroem).
BERG hosts Dr. Daniela Corsaro from Universita Cattolica di Milano
Professor Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG) hosted Dr. Daniela Corsaro (Universita Cattolica di Milano, Italy) for a short research visit. Prof. Henneberg and Dr. Corsaro worked together on new research regarding strategic decision-making by top management groups in business networks. The research is conducted together with Dr. Carla Ramos (INSPER, Brazil) and Prof. Peter Naude (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK).
PhD student Jonathan Webb and Prof. Stephan Henneberg win a Best Paper Award at the Academy of Management Conference 2017
Jonathan Webb (PhD student at the School of Business and Management, and member of BERG) and Prof. Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG), together with Dr. Sebastian Forkmann (University of Alabama, USA) have won a Best Paper Award at the Academy of Management Conference 2017 for their paper “The Dark Side of Buyer-Supplier Relationships and the Role of Corruption”.
The Academy of Management Conference 2017 will take place in Atlanta, USA, in August 2017.
Prof. Stephan Henneberg publishes new research on supplier relationship management
Prof. Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG) has published a new ABS 4-ranked article on "Networking Capability in Supplier Relationships and its Impact on Product Innovation and Firm Performance" in the International Journal of Operations and Production Management. The research was conducted with colleagues from the University of Leeds, UK (Dr. Ghasem Zaefarian), the University of Alabama, USA (Dr. Sebastian Forkmann), and the University of Katowice, Poland (Dr. Maciej Mitraga). The forthcoming article is available from http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/IJOPM-11-2014-0517
Prof. Stephan Henneberg presents a PhD workshop at the University of Bamberg
Prof. Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG), together with Dr. Ronika Chakrabarti (Lancaster University), presented a two-day PhD workshop on publishing in top international journals for PhD students at the University of Bamberg. Prof. Henneberg holds a Visiting Professorship at the University of Bamberg and works closely together on research with the Chair of Marketing, Professor Bjoern Ivens, as well as Juniorprofessor Alexander Leischnig at the University of Bamberg.
Stephan Henneberg discusses Customer Relationship Management at the IHG Loyalty Summit, New York
Stephan Henneberg (Director of BERG) participated in a panel discussion organised by IHG (Intercontinental Hotel Group) in New York in December 2016. The IHG loyalty summit aims to discuss new ways in which, amidst a constantly changing consumer landscape, organisations and brands can build lasting customer loyalty. Prof. Henneberg discussed his newest research on loyalty and business relationships with senior managers from Ford, Dow Jones, Reuters, IHG, and American Express. For a short video about the IHG loyalty summit, please see: https://www.ihgplc.com/en/news-and-media/news-releases/2016/ihg-loyalty-summits
Members of BERG include PhD students who are conducting research focused on the areas of business and management. We are always looking for outstanding prospective PhD students who would like to pursue their research in the areas of innovation, strategy, business relationships, entrepreneurship, operational management and supply chains, and sustainability within inter-organisational networks. For an informal discussion, please send your resume and a brief research proposal (outlining the research idea, objectives, methods, and possible data sources) to BERG@qmul.ac.uk.
Scholarship opportunities become available for suitably qualified candidates from the UK, EU and overseas for full-time study. They consist of the full cost of fees and an annual stipend for 3 years. To apply, you will normally have a first degree with first class honours (or equivalent) and a Master's degree at distinction level, in business/management or a related discipline. Applicants are required to have an IELTS overall score of 7 at the time of application.
For more information, contact Saima Ahmed.
Current PhD and MRes students
Jonathan Webb, a PhD student of the School of Business and Management supervised by Professor Henneberg, Director of BERG, and Dr Forkmann, (Culverhouse, Alabama) is carrying out research on ‘Corruption and the dark side of business relationships’.
Anushri Gupta is a PhD student at the School of Business & Management. She holds MSc in Electronic Engineering with Management at King’s College London. Her PhD explores how inclusion of BOLD (Big data-Open Linked Data) in governance can drive sustainability and thus bring opportunities for open innovation and public value creation. This research seeks practical and theoretical solutions of smart cities, and contributes to the theory on innovation, sustainability, and smart regulation.
Yumeng Zhang is a PhD candidate at the School of Business and Management. She holds an MRes degree in Business and Management with distinction at the University of Nottingham and an MRes degree in Applied Economics at China University of Petroleum (Beijing). Her PhD research focuses on the dark side of business relationships, in particular the contagion of dark side between relationships.