Industry and Innovation Special Issue Call for Papers

Exploring Industrial Change in the Platform Economy

Industry and Innovation

Digital platforms – such as, Facebook, Predix, oDesk, SAP, and YouTube – are opening the way for radical changes in how work and value creation is being organized. They shape the terms on which firms, users, and consumers interact with one another (Gawer and Cusumano 2002, 2014; Parker et al. 2016).  The ubiquity of these platforms is affecting a wide range of businesses and has prompted Kenney and Zysman (2016) to hypothesize that platforms would become a core organizing principle for a new economy.

The observation that a powerful change is underway in the economy is clear.  Some have termed the change as a movement to a “gig” economy (Friedman 2014), because the transformation is contributing to ever more precarious work and the rise of a “precariat” (Standing 2012).  A common formulation has been to claim that a “sharing economy” is emerging (see Benkler 2006; for a more critical perspective see Schor 2014).  This Special Issue does not seek to enter these debates, but we believe that in the same way as the factory organized the work that drove the industrial revolution, it is digital platforms regardless of ownership or labor organization that will undergird and/or organize major parts of the economy and industrial value chains.  This Special Issue seeks articles that explore how platforms reorganizing industry and innovation.

Recent work by Scott and Orlikowski (2012) has shown how labor and management practices were reorganized in the travel industry as TripAdvisor became an increasingly powerful platform and arbiter of hotel quality, while also affecting the workers’ experiences in their jobs.  In another example, Barley (2015) explores the social and material differences in automobile retail sales when the transaction became mediated by Internet price discovery.  In both cases, a significant segment of the value chain was reorganized. Building a more general understanding of these developments is particularly important for understanding industrial dynamics.

The implementation of these digital platforms is certain to differ by industry and nation.  For example, in manufacturing Germany has set out a vision of the future evolution under the rubric of Industrie 4.0, while China is proposing its China 2025 framework.  This Special Issue takes an industry angle to digital platforms: how does the emergence of digital platforms alter work, firm, and/or industry dynamics? We recognize that both business and national responses to the opportunities/challenges of digital platforms are likely to vary by relevant characteristics and contextual idiosyncrasies.

This Special Issue seeks papers that examine the ways in which digital platforms are transforming market competition, firm strategy, labor-management relationships, government-industry relations, supply chains, R&D, innovation, and other industrial processes.  With the ubiquitous mobile internet, the impacts of digital platforms are as profound on developing and developed nations; thus, the Special Issue welcomes contributions from all nations and exploring various industrial sectors.

While the research on platform economics has progressed significantly (Eisenmann et al. 2006; Hagiu and Wright 2015), there has been less industry- or sector-level research on the changes driven by the intermediation of platforms (for an exception, see Boudreau 2010). Our goal is for the Special Issue to assemble state-of-the-art articles about how digital platforms are reorganizing competition.

Research Topics

The Special Issue will welcome submissions examining the following areas:

  • How has an industrial structure been transformed by the implementation of a digital platform?
  • What are the implications to the value chain or a segment thereof to the platformization of an industry?
  • How do specific company and industry cases illustrate broader patterns?
  • Is innovation organized differently when it takes place on digital platforms?
  • Are there national or geographical differences in how platform industries evolve?
  • What are the political, strategic, and institutional underpinnings for how platforms emerge and evolve?
  • Industry studies on the impacts of platforms (power generation and distribution, advertising etc.).
  • How do platform-based businesses evolve and what benefits they offer vis-à-vis non-platform alternatives?
  • What are the new business opportunities that have emerged because of digital platforms?
  • What are the industrial dynamics between the platform provider and ecosystem firms?
  • What is the impact on labor of platform-driven industrial sector reorganization?

Submission Instructions

Important dates

  • Initial submissions due 30 September 2017
  • Publication in Spring 2019

Submission Process

Paper submissions will undergo rigorous editorial screening and double-blind peer review by a minimum of two recognized scholars. The standard requirements of Industry and Innovation submissions apply. Please consult the journal submission guidelines here.

Editorial information