360 Degree Leadership Assessment
Often used in relation to e-business, the ecosystem approach builds customer value through symbiotic relationships among the organization and its stakeholders. Gossain and Kandia '1998) expanded and refined Moore's conceptualization of the ecosystem, suggesting that information technology has created new, integrated types of virtual relationships. These relationships, almost fluid in nature, are based on shared purpose and mutual benefit among firms, suppliers, intermediaries and oftentimes competitors. For instance, Amazon.com recently formed an agreement with competitor Borders.com to operate its Internet operations. Amazon leverages it technical know-how to increase sales, while Borders improves its ability toutilize its Internet channel of distribution. Such relationships are the product of two trends in business; a focus on the customer side of the value chain 'Webb and Gile, 2001) and the increase in business-to-business'B2B) commerce 'Cannon and Perreault,1999). By focusing on the customer end of the value chain rather than simply on core competencies, organizations are better able to understand and facilitate customers' needs. For example, Charles Schwab Company shifted its business model to one based customer preferences for purchasing a full range of financial products. By listening to customers, the brokerage firm was able to provide its products in an array of distribution channels, including the Internet. Such changes reinforce the importance of clear lines of communication between a firm and its customers. To react to shifting customer perceptions, organizations must proactively seek out feedback. Further, the drive to satisfy changing customer needs has forced organizations to partner with complementary organizations, which has spurred the increase in B2B markets. Based on the ecosystem approach, organizations have found that marketing its goods and services to complementary and competing firms has helped to decrease cost while simultaneously adding value. In targeting other businesses as customers, a new paradigm of interdependence among stakeholders has emerged. Further, the rules have changed regarding the way that organizations operate. For instance quality improvement efforts, which may have been internally focused in the past, must now span the entire value chain to leverage competitive advantage 'Dess and Picken, 1999).Any organization or partner, which adds value to the end product, must be aligned with theprincipal organization. Similarly, supplier shave become more involved in the day-to-day operations of their customers. 360 Degree Leadership Assessment
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