Electronic Theses and Dissertations


He Li



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Information Systems

Committee Chair

William J Kettinger

Committee Member

Chen Zhang

Committee Member

David Kemme

Committee Member

Ali Adeli


Digital platforms and the surrounding ecosystems have garnered great interest from researchers and practitioners. Notwithstanding this attention, it remains unclear how and when digital platforms create business value for platform owners and complementors. This three-essay dissertation focuses on understanding business value creation in digital platform ecosystems. The first essay reviews and synthesizes literature across disciplines and offers an integrative framework of digital platform business value. Advised by the findings from the review, the second and third essays focus on the value creation for platform complementors. The second essay examines how IT startups entering a platform ecosystem at different times can strategically design their products (i.e., product diversification across platform architectural layers and product differentiation) to gain competitive advantages. Longitudinal evidence from the Hadoop ecosystem demonstrates that product diversification has an inverted U-shaped relationship with complementors success, and such an effect is more salient for earlier entrants than later entrants. Earlier entrants should develop products that are similar to other ecosystem competitors to reduce uncertainty whereas later entrants are advised to explore market niche and differentiate their products.The third essay investigates how platform complementors strategies and products co-evolve over time in the co-created ecosystem network environment. Our longitudinal analysis of the Hadoop ecosystem indicates that complementors technological architecture coverage and alliance exploration strategies increase their product evolution rate. In turn, complementors with faster product evolution are more likely to explore new partners but less likely to cover a wider range of the focal platforms technological layers in subsequent periods. Network density, co-created by all platform complementors, weakens the effects of complementors strategies on their product evolution but amplifies the effects of past product evolutions on strategies.This three-essay dissertation uncovers various understudied competitive strategies in the digital platform context and enriches our understanding of business value creation in digital platform ecosystems.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest