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Balancing platform control and external contribution in third-party development: the boundary resources model
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Informatics.
Chalmers University of Technology.
2013 (English)In: Information Systems Journal, ISSN 1350-1917, E-ISSN 1365-2575, Vol. 23, no 2, 173-192 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Prior research documents the significance of using platform boundary resources (e.g., APIs) for cultivating platform ecosystems through third-party development. However, there are few, if any, theoretical accounts of this relationship. To this end, this paper proposes a theoretical model that centers on two drivers behind boundary resources design and use – resourcing and securing – and how these drivers interact in third-party development. We apply the model to a detailed case study of Apple’s iPhone platform. Our application of the model not only serves as an illustration of its plausibility but also generates insights about the conflicting goals of third-party development: the maintenance of platform control and the transfer of design capability to third-party developers. We generate four specialized constructs for understanding the actions taken by stakeholders in third-party development: self-resourcing, regulation-based securing, diversity-resourcing, and sovereignty securing. Our research extends and complements existing platform literature and contributes new knowledge about an alternative form of system development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing, 2013. Vol. 23, no 2, 173-192 p.
Keyword [en]
platform, third-party development, boundary resources model, application programming interfaces (APIs), resourcing, securing
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-19263DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2575.2012.00406.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-19263DiVA: diva2:546969
Available from: 2012-08-26 Created: 2012-08-26 Last updated: 2013-07-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards a Boundary Resources Theory of Software Platforms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards a Boundary Resources Theory of Software Platforms
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The last few years have witnessed a significant increase in the frequency and magnitude of involving third-party application developers in software platforms. While this involvement offers great opportunities in building and sustaining platform innovation, it also exposes platform owners to significant challenges. Typically, platform owners facilitate the involvement of third-party developers by providing resources, referred to in this thesis as boundary resources, that give access to the platform, shift design capability, and facilitate the use of the platform’s core technologies. At the same time, these resources have the potential to be used to maintain platform control. This involves seemingly conflicting goals that creates a challenge for platform owners in finding the right balance.

The main objective of this thesis is to investigate and understand the role of boundary resources in platform owners’ efforts to stimulate third-party development. To this end, this thesis proposes a theoretical model of boundary resources. This model centres on various drivers behind boundary resources design and use, and how these drivers interact in third-party development. The thesis also presents a comprehensive view of governance and strategizing practices used by platform owners through boundary resources. This thesis comprises a cover and a collection of five published research papers. The thesis applies a qualitative research method and employs multiple case studies. Boundary resources, innovation networks and platform governance perspectives have been synthesized to build a theoretical  basis to analyze the empirical findings.

This thesis complements and extends the literature on software platforms, and the insights derived from the thesis enhance previous research on third-party development. In addition, it provides a focused theoretical account of the interfaces between platform owners and third-party developers that contributes to the body of knowledge developed around using tools for innovation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping International Business School, 2012. 207 p.
Series
JIBS Dissertation Series, ISSN 1403-0470 ; 085
Keyword
software platforms, third-party development, boundary resources, innovation networks, resourcing, securing, governance
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-19820 (URN)978-91-86345-38-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-12-06, B1014, Högskoleområdet Gjuterigatan 5, Jönköping, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-11-14 Created: 2012-11-14 Last updated: 2013-04-19Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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