Essays on platform ecosystems
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There has been a tremendous increase in the number and variety of ecosystems. Extant literature has paid more attention to platform owners within ecosystems. In this dissertation, I focus on complementors and try to understand their capabilities and strategies. First, I review the literature and summarize existing research that spans across the three phases of the ecosystem namely nascent, growth and technological change. I highlight some of the gaps in existing research, especially those concerning the nature and role of complementors within the ecosystem. I use empirical studies based on the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Platform Ecosystem to address some of these gaps. More specifically, in one study, I look at the complementor strategy of multihoming and explore the role played by complementor capabilities in terms of their human capital and ecosystem learning facilitated by the complementor’s prior platform partnership in multihoming. In another study, I examine the relationship between platform level competition and complementor performance. When an incumbent platform faces competition from an entrant platform, it tends to engage in steering activities that are aimed at supporting its complementors and dissuading them from joining the rival platform. I analyze the potential role of steering in complementor performance and its differential impact based on the complementors’s human capital profile.