R&D Management Conference – 2019 June, 17–21- Paris – Track 3.2 – Digital Platforms : Opportunities and Challenges for Research, Practices, and Society

Track 3.2 – Digital Platforms : Opportunities and Challenges for Research, Practices, and Society

Tommaso BUGANZA, Prof., Politecnico di Milano
Laurent MUZELLEC, Prof., Trinity College Dublin
Sébastien RONTEAU, Prof, Audencia Business School
Daniel TRABUCCHI, Politecnico di Milano

Source: https://portail.polytechnique.edu/rdmanagement2019/fr/submission/tracks-themes/theme-3-digital-technology/track-32-digital-platforms-opportunities-and

Track’s Contacts : 


Over the last years, digital platforms gained significant momentum in the business environment, having a significant impact on the market (e.g., Libert et al., 2016; Choudary et al., 2016).
Companies like AirBnb, Uber and so on challenged existing businesses and the status-quo of their industries, challenging the rules of the game.
Those companies operate according two(or multi)-sided business models, known as “Two-Sided Market” in Economics, where “one or several platforms enable interactions between end-users, and try to get the two (or multiple) sides ‘on board’ by appropriately charging each side” (Rochet and Tirole, 2006, p. 645). In other words, these businesses act as match-makers between two different groups of customers: travelers and hosts for Airbnb or riders and drivers for Uber, creating indirect network effects (Katz and Shapiro, 1985).

This concept gained initial attention in the economic literature (Rochet and Tirole, 2006; Parker and Van Alstyne, 2005; Rysman, 2009), while similar phenomena – such as business ecosystems and industry-wide platforms (Iansiti and Levien, 2004; Gawer and Cusuman, 2014) – were being studied in the management field. Recently, also management scholars started digging in the specificities of these Two or Multi-Sided Platforms (e.g., Muzellec et al., 2015; Trabucchi et al., 2017; 2018; Perks et al., 2017; Täuscher and Laudien, 2018).

These platforms have several peculiarities: starting from interconnecting two different (or more) groups of customers that need to be both on board to perform the service itself (Stummer et al., 2018); they need to design a double value proposition (Muzellec et al., 2015) and they need to orchestrate complex networks where value is created and captured by many players at the same time (Perks et al., 2017).

Business models based on this structure are being boosted by digital technologies (such as mobile apps or the blockchain) and cultural trends (such as sharing or gig economy). Furthermore, there is still the need for rigorous and theoretically relevant research, being also practice based, in order to enhance the knowledge for all the players (scholars, practitioners, policy makers). Therefore, this track aims to enlarge the discussion on the topic, welcoming submissions which take different perspectives on this phenomenon enclosed in a digital context. On the one hand, these platforms are challenging traditional models in the management literature (Amit and Zott, 2015), getting on board different kinds of customers at the same time, and relying on peculiar kinds of network externalities. On the other, they offer important challenges to entrepreneurs and managers that work on this structure, having, for example, different barriers regarding the launch phase, but also different opportunities to be exploited, such as a lean scale-up and technology standards behind business ecosystems. Furthermore, from the society perspective, these models may enable different forms of consumption (e.g., sharing economy) or even of work (e.g., gig economy). This track aims to get together fresh contributions in these three perspectives, in order to enlarge the knowledge on how the Two or Multi-Sided Business Model can unveil opportunities and overcome challenges for research, practices, and society.


Amit, R., & Zott, C. (2015). Crafting business architecture: The antecedents of business model design. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 9(4), 331-350.
Choudary, S. P., Parker, G. G., & Van Alstyne, M. W. (2016). Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You. WW Norton & Company.
Gawer, A., & Cusumano, M. A. (2014). Industry platforms and ecosystem innovation. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(3), 417-433.
Iansiti, M., & Levien, R. (2004). The keystone advantage: what the new dynamics of business ecosystems mean for strategy, innovation, and sustainability. Harvard Business Press.
Katz, M. L., & Shapiro, C. (1985). Network externalities, competition, and compatibility. The American economic review, 75(3), 424-440.
Libert, B., Beck, M., & Wind, J. (2016). The network imperative: how to survive and grow in the age of digital business models. Harvard Business Review Press.
Muzellec, L., Ronteau, S., & Lambkin, M. (2015). Two-sided Internet platforms: A business model lifecycle perspective. Industrial Marketing Management, 45, 139-150.
Parker, G. G., & Van Alstyne, M. W. (2005). Two-sided network effects: A theory of information product design. Management Science, 51(10), 1494-1504.
Perks, H., Kowalkowski, C., Witell, L., & Gustafsson, A. (2017). Network orchestration for value platform development. Industrial marketing management, 67, 106-121.
Rochet, J. C., & Tirole, J. (2006). Two‐sided markets: a progress report. The RAND journal of economics, 37(3), 645-667.
Rysman, M. (2009). The economics of two-sided markets. Journal of economic perspectives, 23(3), 125-43.
Stummer, C., Kundisch, D., & Decker, R. (2018). Platform launch strategies. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 60(2), 167-173.
Täuscher, K., & Laudien, S. M. (2018). Understanding platform business models: A mixed methods study of marketplaces. European Management Journal, 36(3), 319-329.
Trabucchi, D., Buganza, T., & Pellizzoni, E. (2017). Give Away Your Digital Services: Leveraging Big Data to Capture Value. Research-Technology Management, 60(2), 43-52.
Trabucchi, D., & Buganza, T. (2018). Data-driven innovation: switching the perspective on Big Data. European Journal of Innovation Management. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-01-2018-0017