MG509      Half Unit
Managing Digital Platform Innovation

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Carsten Sorensen NAB 3.11


This course is compulsory on the MPhil/PhD in Management - Information Systems and Innovation. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course deals with the dynamics of large- scale digital service platforms and their associated ecosystems. It is based on the extant research into modularity, platforms, boundary resources, and digital ecosystems across the fields of management, innovation, and information technology studies. The aim to ground the students in the traditional conceptualisations of IS and use this as the base for exploring the theoretical challenges brought about by a variety of digital and layered-modular multi-sided platforms. The course further examines the components, operations and trends of digital ecosystems, for example focusing on the role of large distributed datasets applied for organisational intelligence of various forms. Social networks form a key example of such large, distributed, datasets, and of innovation platforms relying on associated service ecosystems. The course also addresses the particular challenges of business digitalisation and platformisation for the distributed provision of mobile apps and uses this example as a basis for a broader consideration of platform innovation dynamics.


This course is delivered through seminars across Michaelmas Term.Teaching hours will be commensurate with a usual half unit taught masters course but note that teaching may take a different format and/or structure in 2021/22.

This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 presentation and 1 essay in the MT.

One PowerPoint presentation on a course theme to be handed in week 2 for feedback and one 1500-word essay on the same theme to be handed in for assessment by week 6

Indicative reading

Baldwin, C. Y. & K. B. Clark (2000): Design Rules, Vol. 1: The Power of Modularity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Benkler, Y. (2006): The Wealth of Networks. Yale University Press

Chandler Jr, A. D. (1977): The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business. Cambridge MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Garud, R., A. Kumaraswamy, & R. Langlois, ed. (2003): Managing in the Modular Age: Architecture, Networks and Organisations. Blackwell.

Gawer, A., ed. (2009): Platforms, Markets and Innovation. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Iansiti, M. & R. Levien (2004): The Keystone Advantage. Harvard Business Press.

Kallinikos, J. (2006): The Consequences of Information. Edward Elgar

Leonardi, P. M., B. A. Nardi, & J. Kallinikos, ed. (2012): Materiality and Organizing. OUP.

Parker, G. G., Alstyne, M. W. and Choudary, S. P (20160: Platform Revolution. New York: Norton.

Pickering, A. (1995): The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency & Science. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Tiwana, A. (2013): Platform ecosystems: aligning architecture, governance, and strategy. Newnes.

Utterback, J. (1994): Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.

Boudreau, K. (2010): Open Platform Strategies and Innovation: Granting Access vs. Devolving Control. Management Science, vol. 56, no. 10, pp. 1849-1872.

Boudreau, K. J. (2012): Let a thousand flowers bloom? An early look at large numbers of software app developers and patterns of innovation. Organization Science, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 1409-1427.

De Reuver, M., C. Sørensen, & R. Basole (2016): The Digital Platform: A Research Agenda. Journal of Information Technology, vol. 31, no. Forthcoming.

Eaton, B. D., S. Elaluf-Calderwood, C. Sørensen, & Y. Yoo (2015): Distributed Tuning of Boundary Resources: The Case of Apple’s iOS Service System. MIS Quarterly: Special Issue on Service Innovation in a Digital Age, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 217-243.

Eisenmann, T., G. Parker, & M. Van Alstyne (2011): Platform envelopment. Strategic Management Journal, vol. 32, no. 12, pp. 1270-1285.

Evans, P. C. & R. C. Basole (2016): Revealing the API Ecosystem and Enterprise Strategy using Visual Analytics. Communications of the ACM, vol. 59, no. 2.

Ghazawneh, A. & Henfridsson, O. (2013) Balancing Platform Control and External Contribution in Third-Party Development: The Boundary Resources Model. Information Systems Journal, 23(2): 173-192.

Henfridsson, O., L. Mathiassen, & F. Svahn (2014): Managing Technological Change in the Digital Age: The Role of Architectural Frames. Journal of Information Technology, vol. 29, pp. 27-43.

Kallinikos, J., Aaltonen, A., & Marton, A. (2013) The Ambivalent Ontology of Digital Artifacts. MIS Quarterly, 37(2): 357-370.

Parker, G. G. & M. W. Van Alstyne (2005): Two-Sided Network Effects: A Theory of Information Product Design. Management Science, vol. 51, no. 10, pp. 1494-1504.

Tiwana, A., B. Konsynsky, & A. A. Bush (2010): Platform Evolution: Coevolution of Platform Architecture, Governance, and Environmental Dynamics. Information Systems Research, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 675-687.

Thomas, L., E. Autio, & D. Gann (2014): Architectural Leverage: Putting Platforms in Context. The Academy of Management Perspectives, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 198-219.

Wareham, J., P. B. Fox, & J. L. Cano Giner (2014): Technology Ecosystem Governance. Organization Science, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 1195-1215.


Take-home assessment (100%).

The course will be assessed by a 24-hour take home exam at the end of the MT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2020/21: 2

Average class size 2020/21: 2

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness