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Platform Strategy: Openness and Business Model Choices

Guan, T. (2023). Platform Strategy: Openness and Business Model Choices. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This thesis is a representation of my research interest in the strategy of digital platforms. To unpack this complicated concept, I first studied the creation of platforms by reviewing the literature on change at the cognitive level—how mental models influence search activity—and at the firm level—how nonplatform companies become platform companies. Then, I reviewed the concepts of open and openness in the management literature. They are the key attributes of strategies of digital platforms. Most importantly, I created a panel dataset to study the strategy (choice of business models) of UK peer-to-peer (p2p) lending platform businesses. I found that, first, scholars often assume that if a business is a platform, the business would use a platform strategy and adopt a platform business model. This assumption is correct when only looking at and studying large and influential platforms. I find that a platform business may not necessarily use a platform business model. Second, considering the rising power of platform companies, scholars tend to argue that platforms can outcompete nonplatforms. However, based on the separation of the platform as a structure and as a strategy, my empirical research shows that under certain conditions, intermediary platform businesses are likely to move away from platform strategies, i.e., from a marketplace model to a reseller model. More importantly, the knowledge and information that the platform gains via the marketplace model might be crucial for the successful operation of the reseller model. Last, in the literature of open strategy and open innovation, firm openness is often considered as being controlled by the focal business. I propose that “open” should be viewed as a boundary resource between the business and the audiences of the open policies. The openness of the business and its audiences co-create the impact of open policies.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
Departments: Bayes Business School
Bayes Business School > Bayes Business School Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Guan Thesis 2023 PDF-A.pdf]
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