Exploring the Adelaide Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: A stakeholder perspective

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Strategic Management


School of Business and Law

First Advisor

Professor Pi-Shen Seet

Second Advisor

Dr Marian Whittaker

Field of Research Code



This research is concerned with the role of Stakeholder Theory within Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Theory. The research reveals a key role for Stakeholder Theory in the ongoing development of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Theory as Stakeholder Theory provides a mechanism to discover, and map, the roles and relationships within the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. The research examines a nascent Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. This is the Adelaide Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and this "ecosystem" reveals (via a series of "Stakeholder Maps") a set of archetypal Entrepreneurial ecosystem stakeholders and their links within this ecosystem.

A chronological series of 19 iterations of these “Stakeholder Maps” over a fouryear period provides insight into the nature, and conceptualisation, of the Adelaide Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. In depth interviews of 31 participants in the Adelaide Entrepreneurial Ecosystem provide evidence of the centrality of the stakeholder in the Adelaide Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. This research contributes to theory via the reinstatement of Stakeholder Theory, within the diverse, fragmented Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Theory using a two part "organisation" of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Theory. The first is a division distinguishes the epistemological, academic and "popular" writers from one another. This facilitates a clarification of the literature and highlights an ongoing dilemma in combining the theory of the role of the "environment" with the "entrepreneur" in the creation of an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.

The second "organisation" of the theory pivots around the impact of Moore's conceptualisation of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. This recognises the ongoing development of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Theory via the application of the ecological model.

The research contributes to practice as it facilitates an examination of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems at a constituent level and offers the possibility of simultaneously theorising the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem from the view of the Stakeholder and from the ecosystem point of view and how they are linked. Further research may bring this possibility into actuality.

Access Note

Access to this thesis is embargoed until April 9, 2024.

At the expiration of the embargo period, access to the thesis will be restricted to the exegesis and to current ECU staff and students. Email request to library@ecu.edu.au

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