Managing Platforms and Ecosystems Minitrack

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This minitrack calls for perspectives from information systems, strategy, marketing, operations, computer science, social sciences, and policy to continue the scholarly exploration of concepts, theories, and tools for managing platforms and ecosystems. Management incorporates many critical activities: designing, planning, implementing, decision making, and evaluating. Some but not all of these may be effective in managing platforms and ecosystems.

Ecosystems are complex socio-, economic-, and technical systems that can be characterized by human networks that generate productive output on a sustainable basis, and as business ecosystems consisting of interdependent firms that form symbiotic relationships to create and deliver products and services. Platforms, conceptual or technological constructs to structure the relationships, provide a context for connections and value creation in an ecosystem. In practice digital platforms amplify the volume of opportunity in scaling toward success, allowing for multi-sided markets to emerge. Conceptually, the mindsets, organizational constructs and the technological systems of multi-sided markets, platforms and ecosystems require a reframed perspective on strategic management that goes beyond extant literature on strategic and industrial innovation.

“You cannot do it alone” and “you do not have to do it alone” describe realities of the global interconnected economy. Contemporary organizations are struggling with managing the associated complexities. While principles and tactics for managing platforms and ecosystems are emerging, more cross-disciplinary thought leadership and experience sharing are needed.

Topics of interest include, but not limited to:

  • Theories, models, and empirical studies of platforms and ecosystems
  • Genesis, dynamics, and evolution of platforms and ecosystems
  • Value-creation and enablement in ecosystems
  • Platform and ecosystem business models
  • Industry, technology, and investment platforms
  • Technological and competitive disruption in ecosystems
  • Analytics, visualization, and decision support for platform and ecosystems
  • Best practices in platform and ecosystem management
  • Orchestration strategies of platforms and ecosystem

Minitrack Co-Chairs:

Kaisa Still (Primary Contact)
VTT, Finland

Martha Russell
Stanford University

Rahul Basole
Georgia Institute of Technology


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 10
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    Visualizing the Geography of Platform Boundary Resources: The Case of the Global API Ecosystem
    ( 2017-01-04) Huhtamäki, Jukka ; Basole, Rahul ; Still, Kaisa ; Russell, Martha ; Seppänen, Marko
    Platform boundary resources play an increasingly transformative role in the global digital ecosystem. In this study, we focus on one type of platform boundary resource, namely application programming interfaces (APIs). Guided by two competing assumptions—1) that geographic boundaries are blurred and potentially less important in a digitally connected world, and 2) that geographic proximity matters for co-innovation—we investigate the global footprint of APIs. Using a data-driven visual network analysis approach to examine more than 15,000 APIs and mashups, we first map the global locations of where APIs are being created. We then examine how API mashups connect these locations globally and regionally. Our results show that while APIs are globally distributed, they are mainly concentrated in major entrepreneurial regions. We also find that there is a skewed distribution, with the U.S. and Silicon Valley in particular leading the way. We conclude with both theoretical and managerial implications.
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    Value-Creation Dynamics in Platform Ecosystem: A Firm Theory Lens
    ( 2017-01-04) Kim, Dohoon
    This paper studies platform ecosystems, a novel business entity built upon a platform coordinating the interactions between suppliers and users, particularly in the IT service sectors. Borrowing words from two core firm theories---resource-based view (RBV) and transaction cost view (TCV)---, we propose that the platform ecosystem works at the boundary between “market and hierarchy.” To show this, we develop a conceptual, stylized, dynamic model for the platform ecosystem with typical notions in RBV and TCV: in particular, installed-base, player heterogeneity, and platform’s investment as primary ingredients. Our findings from equilibrium analyses and simulations largely confirm that both RVB and TCV are valid for understanding a platform ecosystem. We, however, also identify some contingencies where RBV is limited, and propose a hypothesis that the platform’ investment is more crucial for fostering an ecosystem. This implies that the platform starts from the point near market and maneuvers the ecosystem toward a hierarchy, utilizing its investment as a driver.
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    Uncovering the Nature of Platform-based Business Models: An Empirical Taxonomy
    ( 2017-01-04) Täuscher, Karl ; Laudien, Sven M.
    Digital platforms increasingly determine the 21st century business world. This is especially reflected in the development of multi-sided platforms such as Airbnb or Uber that depict the centerpiece of innovative business models as they effectively match demand-side and supply-side participants through advanced technologies. Such marketplace platforms substantially contribute to an emergence of new ecosystems. However, we do by now not know much about the characteristics of the underlying innovative business models. To close the gap, this research develops a conceptually and empirically grounded taxonomy of marketplace business models. The paper is based on a dataset of 100 marketplace firms and presents an analysis of the business models of these firms based on different cluster analysis techniques. As a result, basic types of marketplace business models are identified and characterized. The paper contributes to a better understanding of platform-based business models and opens several avenues for studying their interplay with ecosystems.
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    Too Big to Fail? Overcrowding a Multi-Sided Platform and Sustained Competitive Advantage
    ( 2017-01-04) Huotari, Pontus
    Multi-sided platforms are increasingly common, which is no surprise given the winner-take-all dynamics in platform-based markets. That is, the platform with the biggest installed base of buyers and sellers can arguably sustain its competitive advantage because of positive indirect network effects. We reexamine this argument with an agent-based simulation model, where we allow for variety seeking and probabilistic buyer affiliation with platforms and interactions with sellers. Against the extant literature, we show that incumbency advantage is more unlikely to last when increasing the relative number of sellers to buyers on the incumbent platform. This is because extreme competition for buyers drives sellers and hence buyers, because of positive indirect network effects, to increasingly affiliate with the uncrowded entrant platform. We thus add to the literature by explaining how sustaining an installed base advantage is contingent on avoiding overcrowding a platform with too many sellers.
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    The Antecedents of Transaction Costs in Digital Ecosystems: A Configurational View on the Interplay of App Architecture and Platform Governance
    ( 2017-01-04) Dellermann, Dominik ; Reck, Fabian
    The locus of value creation and innovation in the software industry is shifting more and more to platform ecosystems on which numerous developers create extensions with additional functionalities based on the platforms core architecture. While such complementors may strongly profit from platforms, there are considerable costs. Recent studies therefore examined the costs of fitting apps to the specifications of certain platforms; however, these works largely neglect costs arising from the transactional relationship between platform and complementor. In order to shed light on this, our work examines how design choices of platform governance and app architecture impact the emergence of four types of cost-inducing hazards within the transactional context of the ecosystem. By using a configurational approach based on fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (FsQCA), we display complex interactional effects of the causal conditions on complementors’ perception of hazardous environments and thus provide valuable insights for both practice and theory on platform ecosystems.