Digital Ecosystems as a Unit of Scientific Analysis. A Sociological Investigation

Bygstad, Bendik
Dulsrud, Arne
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The growth of digital ecosystems such as Google, Apple and Uber has led to radical changes in economic activity, work and consumption. It has also challenged established economic, social and organization theory, which has clear limitations in understanding these phenomena. The discourses on these topics are conducted in various arenas, which are not linked, and conceptualise digital ecosystems differently. What kind of theoretical object is this? The purpose of this study is to present an institutional and comparative analysis of the research on platforms and digital ecosystems. We identify four research streams; political, economic, technological and individual. We analyse each stream regarding the key insights, and identify the most important knowledge sources. Then we assess the relevance of classical and modern sociology for understanding digital ecosystems.
Knowing What We Know: Theory, Meta-analysis, and Review, digital ecosystem, literature review, platform, sociology
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