Marta Gancarczyk, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Jagiellonian University, Poland

Małgorzata Kutera, Guest Editor, Jagiellonian University, Poland

Aims and Scope

Financial ecosystems (financial ecologies; FE) are considered as the ultimate mode of the financial services governance transformed by financial technologies (fintech), customer demands, and related regulations (Łasak & Gancarczyk, 2021; Wójcik & Ioannou, 2020). FE represents networks of private and public actors, such as banks, fintech, BigTech, public entities, enterprises, and customers, targeted at the provision of financial services in particular territories (Langley, 2016; DawnBurton, 2020). Financial ecosystems have a spatial component since they focus on customers (individuals, enterprises, public administration units) and projects localized in specific regions or countries (Lai, 2020; Chen & Hassink, 2021; Appleyard, 2020). The governance of FE comprises flexible, network-based, and project-tailored structures, without predetermined lead roles, since dominant actors are defined for particular customers and projects (Langley, 2016; Lai & Samers, 2021). The functioning of FE is platform-based, and network leaders act as multi-sided platforms that link other actors (Gomber et al., 2018). The actors that gather to implement a project can be both local and global entities with an international reach (e.g., crowdfunding platforms, payment platforms) (Bernards, 2019; Clarke, 2019). Therefore, we observe networks of local and international origins focused on retail customers and projects delimited by geographical contexts.

Within the “patchwork” of territorial financial ecologies, banks hold an important but not exclusive position, being rather a part of a modularized network of service providers (Lai, 2020; Kleibert, 2020). Banks focus on complex activities, while non-bank entities (fintech, BigTech), select the activities with the highest potential for technology-based standardization, upgrading them as functional modules (Sanchez & Mahoney, 2013). Consequently, the bank scope becomes functionally shortened but expanded geographically with new channels of communication to serve customers (e.g., mobile banking in peripheral areas) (Kong & Loubere, 2021; Omarini, 2018). This modularized financial ecosystem comprises functionally specialized and interdependent service providers (Baldwin, 2020; Lee & Shin, 2018).

The FE governance raises positive socioeconomic effects, including the improved efficiency, flexibility, and adjustment to heterogeneous needs and demands, expanded portfolio of services tailored to territorial projects and ventures, and the inclusion of unbanked or under-served entities (Brooks, 2021; Coetzee, 2018; Langevin, 2019; Brooks, 2021). Nevertheless, negative effects are also reported, such as over-indebtedness of risky customers, surveillance by fintech, and exclusion of some customers due to computer illiteracy or limited internet access (Kong & Loubere, 2021; Łasak & Gancarczyk, 2021; Brooks, 2021). The economic and social outcomes of the emerging FE governance have not been fully understood and systemized (Langley & Leyshon, 2020; Wójcik, 2020). The types and strengths of these effects strongly differ among FE, since they are dependent on the spatial context of institutions as well as social and economic development of particular territories (Campbell-Verduyn, Goguen & Porter, 2017; Singh, 2019).

The intensive development of FE is closely related to technological changes that enable the flexible establishment of quite new forms of cooperation between economic entities (Arslanian & Fischer, 2019; Hill, 2018; Livesey, 2018; Nicoletti et al., 2017; Scardovi, 2017). An example can be blockchain technology, which is successfully used in new services such as accounting or financial audit (Pimentel & Boulianne, 2020; Murray, 2018; Demirkan & McKee, 2020).

On the other hand, there are also wider risks. In the context of financial services, the scale of cybercrime is growing and many institutions (in particular banks) allocate more funds to the implementation of appropriate security mechanisms. Technology also facilitates quick and difficult to detect financial flows and allows for global shifting of capital. This has an obvious impact on the functioning of selected FEs, for example, tax havens (Kutera, 2017; Col & Patel, 2019). It is also worth mentioning the new forms of financial investments such as cryptocurrencies or NFT (non-fungible tokens). They initiate the creation of completely new networks of connections within the FE, although often involving high risk.

FEs are emerging constructs and economic phenomena, therefore, we need both further conceptualizations and studies that would put these ideas to empirical testing (Lai & Samers, 2021; Wójcik, 2021; Kleibert, 2020). In terms of conceptual challenges, the idea of FE should be supported with a relevant theoretical background and clarified regarding the relationships with other business and enterprise ecologies and ecosystems. The promising theoretical lens might include evolutionary and institutional theories, as well as governance theories (Chen & Hassink, 2020, 2021; Williamson, 2005; 2010; North, 2005; Ostrom, 2010; Hodgson, 2015). Moreover, the important research gaps refer to the mechanisms of the FE governance, such as regulatory frameworks, e.g., financial reporting and sandboxing, types of involved entities and their relationships, power relations, types of contracts, value and intellectual property sharing, as well as learning and adapting by FE participants. Since FE are focused on territories, their idiosyncrasies should be acknowledged by exploring FE in variegated socio-economic and institutional contexts of countries and regions (Ponte & Sturgeon, 2014; Chen & Hassink, 2021, 2020; Lai & Samers, 2021; Coe & Yeung, 2019). 

This thematic issue intends to address the above conceptual and empirical gaps and challenges, by gathering interdisciplinary, high-quality approaches to the financial ecosystems’ concept and practice. We encourage the submissions that address, but are not limited to, the following issues:

  • Conceptualizations of financial ecosystems with the use of the relevant theoretical lens, such as institutional theory, evolutionary approaches (e.g., the co-evolutionary perspective), modularization, and governance approaches, e.g., transaction cost economics.
  • The technological (fintech) and market processes leading to the transformation of traditional structures of financial services towards financial ecosystems.
  • Regulations as drivers and outcomes of fintech-driven transformations toward FE.
  • The role of financial ecosystems in the development of entrepreneurship and the growth of enterprises.
  • Economic outcomes of the fintech transformation of financial services toward modularized network governance.
  • Conditions for development and methods of financing the activities of entities forming the FE.
  • The impact of technology on the functioning of financial ecosystems and related risks.
  • Social outcomes of financial ecosystems relevant for individuals and groups (customers, enterprises, institutions); inclusion and exclusion processes.
  • Case studies of FE in regions and countries – individual and multiple-case approaches with qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
  • Quantitative approaches to modeling, measuring, and exploring FEs.

Submission guidelines:

Submission deadline: July 30, 2022
Revised papers accepted:  November 30, 2022
Issue published: 2022/2023

Please submit the paper proposals to JEMI (indicating the title of the thematic issue: Financial Ecosystems: Concept and Practice) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All papers will undergo a double-blind review. Submissions must be in English and should not exceed 8000 - 9000 words. All submissions must follow the submission requirements (paper template, title page, declaration for authors, etc.) posted on the JEMI website at http://jemi.edu.pl/submission-and-policy

 

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