Dissertation Defense Announcement

Fogelman College of Business and Economics announces the Final Dissertation Defense of

He Li

for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

June 27, 2019 at 2:00 PM in Fogelman College of Business and Economics ,Room 365

Advisor: William J. Kettinger & Chen Zhang

Essays on Business Value Creation in Digital Platform Ecosystems

ABSTRACT: 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 participants. 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 participants. 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 participants benefit more from positioning their products in a moderate number of the platform's architectural layers 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 participants' strategies and products co-evolve over time in the co-created ecosystem network environment. Our longitudinal analysis of the Hadoop ecosystem indicates that participants' technological architecture coverage and alliance exploration strategies increase their product evolution rate. In turn, participants with faster product evolution are more likely to explore new partners but less likely to cover a wider range of the focal platform's technological layers in subsequent periods. Network density, co-created by all platform participants, weakens the effects of participants' strategies on their product evolution but amplifies the effects of past product evolution 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.