From Buying Centers to Buying Ecosystems: Advancing the B2B Research Journey

Michael Ehret*, Wesley J. Johnston, Thomas Ritter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


The buying center is a signature theoretical concept in B2B marketing and in general marketing research on organizational buying. It unveils interactions across organizations that enable value creation, and it highlights the contributions of interactions across people, roles, and organizations. Fundamental shifts in business and society are not only changing buying centers internally but also resulting in their transformation into buying ecosystems. Information technology has moved from a mere object for purchase in initial buying-center research towards a potentially artificial-intelligence-infused agent in the buying process. Moreover, servitization is transforming buying-center roles and their importance, especially in relation to users. In addition, in the wake of economic uncertainty, public actors are taking on additional roles ranging from passive buyers to innovators or entrepreneurs. The quest to enhance the sustainability of businesses is also changing the composition of buying centers and their responsibilities. These developments call for updating our understanding of buying centers and broadening our perspective from buying centers to buying ecosystems. This special issue presents seven papers that advance buying-center research. In this editorial, we provide an overview and propose promising avenues for B2B buying-center research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Pages (from-to)A10-A16
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Published online: 13 January 2024.


  • Buying center
  • Business relationship
  • Ecosystem
  • Network
  • Service
  • Organizational buyer behavior

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