Managing Competitive and Cooperative Strategizing in Open Platform Ecosystems using Boundary Resources

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Digitalization is proliferating and digital strategizing is thus becoming ever more important in various industries. Digital business is increasingly based on use of open platforms counting on complements from 3rd parties and network effects they induce. Existing research on open innovation and open platforms have mainly focused on positive leverage effects of openness and have neglected the negative aspects, such as competitive threats caused by openness. Motivated by these notions, this dissertation studies how platform owners can manage both cooperative and competitive challenges and strategize in open platform ecosystems. This dissertation is composed of four articles and a summary synthesizing the results. Mobile industry, being one of the forerunners in digitalization, was chosen as the focal case for the study. The study was organized as a multiple case study, in which each article extended and enriched the analysis of previous articles. As a whole, they form a large case study of mobile industry spanning from 2007 to 2015 covering all major mobile platforms. This dissertation makes three contributions. First, open platform ecosystems are depicted as a new kind of competitive environment with platform forking identified as a specific new form of competition and strategic challenge for platform owners. Second, boundary resources are enriched to be the central strategic tools that are actively used to manage both cooperation and competition with the various actors of the open platform ecosystem. To manage cooperation, boundary resources are exposed as versatile strategic tools to attract, control, and appropriate value from the complementors. From competition perspective, too open boundary resources may be strategically exploited through platform forking to build a competing platform. To counter the competition, platform owner can use boundary resources to defend against exploiters. Third, as a conclusion, boundary resources are reasoned to have a central role in building and sustaining competitive advantage in open platform ecosystem. Finally, to help managers to cope with open platform strategizing and think strategically about boundary resources, several managerial implications are derived from the findings. To prevent exploitation, managers are advised to pay close attention in designing the boundary resources in the first place; both by balancing between generative effect and minimizing risks and by leaving room for strategic maneuvering at a later point of time if needed. A key managerial advice is that digital tools should be used increasingly in strategizing. Google Play Services illustrates that software technological strategizing offers additional benefits including rapid deployment, customizability and precise targeting.
Translated title of the contributionRajaresurssien käyttö kilpailu- ja yhteistyöstrategioinnissa avoimen alustan ekosysteemissä
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Mäntylä, Martti, Supervising Professor
  • Gustafsson, Robin, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-7236-4
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-7235-7
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • boundary resources
  • coopetition
  • digitalization
  • open platform
  • platform forking


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