Sub-theme 75: The New Faces and Interfaces of Digital Platforms

Georg Reischauer
WU – Vienna University of Economics and Business & Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria
Stefan Haefliger
City, University of London, United Kingdom
Ivanka Visnjic
ESADE Business School, Spain

Call for Papers

The ongoing digitalization of business and society demonstrates the importance of constructing organizations as loci as well as vehicles of the good life in a digital age. A technology of growing relevance are digital platforms that facilitate interactions between actors. Digital platforms and organizations hosting these platforms, so called platform organizations, refine the fabrics of markets and society by portraying themselves as enabler of a better life for consumers and firms (Davis, 2016; Mair & Reischauer, 2017). One important way platforms achieve this is to engage in framing, the process to convince others of the accuracy of one’s actions (Heimstädt & Reischauer, 2019). For example, studies found that securing support for being a platform with framing tactics is vital to disrupt established organizations that produce and offer services (Ansari et al., 2016; Gurses & Ozcan, 2015; Kumaraswamy et al., 2018). Platform organizations also shape their institutional context in multiple ways to become taken-for-granted (Gawer & Phillips, 2013; Uzunca et al., 2018; Reischauer, 2018). Despite these advances, what remains unclear and what is at the heart of this sub-theme is how the new faces and interfaces of digital platforms shape their future entanglement with markets and societies.
Digital platforms have several faces. Airbnb, Uber, and eBay are examples of transaction platforms that match multiple sides (Kornberger et al., 2017). On contrast, innovation platforms such as Microsoft Azure are industry platforms where complementors co-innovate (Aversa et al., 2020). Apple and Google are examples of platform organizations that provide multiple platforms that match various sides and enable innovation in ecosystems (Gawer, 2010; Reischauer, Güttel, & Schüßler, 2021). In addition, information platforms such as Facebook center on the creation, search or evaluation of information (Cennamo, 2019). Each type is based on different business models (Aversa et al., 2015; Aversa et al., 2020; Sjödin et al., 2020; Visnjic et al., 2018; Visnjic et al., 2022), and leverages different online communities (Reischauer & Mair, 2018b; Rullani & Haefliger, 2013).
Digital platforms further organize new interfaces in multiple ways. Interfaces are crucial so that other actors couple themselves to the infrastructure of digital platforms (Fink et al., 2020) and open up towards their audiences (Heimstädt & Reischauer, 2018). One important interface interacts with the online communities of a digital platform. Carefully curating online communities is important to survive (Reischauer & Mair, 2018a) but also to grow; for instance, more and more platforms offer new products and services for an existing user base, as in the case of Uber Eats or Google (Müller et al., 2018). However, users and interest groups may also step up to increase their say over interface access (Gegenhuber et al., 2022) and demand greater transparency (Reischauer & Ringel, 2022). A further important interface is those with society and policy makers. Recent studies showed that actors demand a stronger say in how platform organizations run and shape society, requesting compatibilities in terms of regulatory demands and privacy (Kenney et al., 2019; Schüßler et al., 2021).
In sum, our knowledge on the new faces and interfaces of platform organizations is growing. Howeover, there is still much to learn. To nurture research on platforms organizations, we invite papers rooted in various disciplines. All kind of methods and conceptual papers are welcome. Possible submissions include but are not limited to:

  • What strategies, practices, processes, structures, and/or business models are characteristic for which types of platform organizations?

  • Under what conditions at the market and/or institutional level are which types of platform organizations more and less suitable?

  • How do platform providers organizations culture as toolkit as they grow and when they are challenged?

  • How do communities (online or offline) build or interact with platform organizations?

  • How do platform providers evolve over time and with which consequences for their boundaries?

  • What are the unintended consequences of platform organizations, especially with respect to grand challenges?

  • How do platform organizations (collaboratively) design and enact their interfaces and the infrastructure that they provide?

  • How do established organizations collaborate with platform organizations?

  • Which market strategies and non-market strategies do established organizations use vis-à-vis platform organizations?

  • What are the market and non-market strategies of established organizations vis-à-vis platform organizations disrupting their business? What factors explain these responses?

  • How do policy makers and the civil society shape and respond to platform organizations?

  • Under which condition are policy makers and actors from the civil society willing to respond more actively?

  • What are the ethical implications of organizing for and with platform organizations?



  • Ansari, S., Garud, R., & Kumaraswamy, A. (2016): “The disruptor's dilemma: Tivo and the U.S. Television ecosystem.” Strategic Management Journal, 37 (9), 1829–1853.
  • Aversa, P., Furnari, S., & Haefliger, S. (2015): “Business model configurations and performance: A qualitative comparative analysis in formula one racing, 2005–2013.” Industrial and Corporate Change, 24 (3), 655–676.
  • Aversa, P., Haefliger, S., Hueller, F., & Reza, D.G. (2020): “Customer complementarity in the digital space: Exploring Amazon’s business model diversification.” Long Range Planning, 54 (5),
  • Cennamo, C. (2019): “Competing in digital markets: A platform-based perspective.” Academy of Management Perspectives, 35 (2), 265–291.
  • Davis, G.F. (2016): “Can an economy survive without corporations? Technology and robust organizational alternatives.” Academy of Management Perspectives, 30 (2), 129–140.
  • Fink, L., Shao, J., Lichtenstein, Y., & Haefliger, S. (2020): “The ownership of digital infrastructure: Exploring the deployment of software libraries in a digital innovation cluster.” Journal of Information Technology, 35 (3), 251–269.
  • Gawer, A. (2010): “The organization of technological platforms.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 29, 287–296.
  • Gawer, A., & Phillips, N. (2013): “Institutional work as logics shift: The case of Intel’s transformation to platform leader.” Organization Studies, 34 (8), 1035–1071.
  • Gegenhuber, T., Schüßler, E., Reischauer, G., & Thäter, L. (2022): “Building collective institutional infrastructures for decent platform work: The development of a crowdwork agreement in Germany.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 79, 43–67.
  • Gurses, K., & Ozcan, P. (2015): “Entrepreneurship in regulated markets: Framing contests and collective action to introduce pay tv in the U.S.” Academy of Management Journal, 58 (6), 1709–1739.
  • Heimstädt, M., & Reischauer, G. (2019): “Framing innovation practices in interstitial issue fields: Open innovation in the NYC administration.” Innovation: Organization & Management, 21 (1), 128–150.
  • Heimstädt, M., & Reischauer, G. (2018): “Open(ing up) for the future: Practising open strategy and open innovation to cope with uncertainty.” In: H. Krämer & M. Wenzel (eds.): How Organizations Manage the Future: Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Insights. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 113–131.
  • Kenney, M., Rouvinen, P., Seppälä, T., & Zysman, J. (2019): “Platforms and Industrial Change.” Industry and Innovation, 26 (8), 871–879.
  • Kornberger, M., Pflueger, D., & Mouritsen, J. (2017): “Evaluative infrastructures: Accounting for platform organization.” Accounting, Organizations and Society, 60, 79–95.
  • Kumaraswamy, A., Garud, R., & Ansari, S. (2018): “Perspectives on disruptive innovations.” Journal of Management Studies, 55 (7), 1025–1042.
  • Mair, J., & Reischauer, G. (2017): “Capturing the dynamics of the sharing economy: Institutional research on the plural forms and practices of sharing economy organizations.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 125, 11–20.
  • Müller, C.N., Kijl, B., & Visnjic, I. (2018): “Envelopment lessons to manage digital platforms: The cases of Google and Yahoo.” Strategic Change, 27 (2), 139–149.
  • Reischauer, G. (2018): “Industry 4.0 as policy-driven discourse to institutionalize innovation systems in manufacturing.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 132, 26–33.
  • Reischauer, G., & Mair, J. (2018a): How organizations strategically govern online communities: Lessons from the sharing economy. Academy of Management Discoveries, 4 (3), 220–247.
  • Reischauer, G., & Mair, J. (2018b): “Platform organizing in the new digital economy: Revisiting online communities and strategic responses.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 57, 113–135.
  • Reischauer, G., & Ringel, L. (2022): “Unmanaged transparency in a digital society: Swiss army knife or double-edged sword?” Organization Studies, first published online on June 20, 2022,
  • Reischauer, G., Güttel, W., & Schüßler , E. (2021): “Aligning the design of intermediary organisations with the ecosystem.” Industry and Innovation, 28 (5), 594–619.
  • Rullani, F., & Haefliger, S. (2013): “The periphery on stage: The intra-organizational dynamics in online communities of creation.” Research Policy, 42 (4), 941–953.
  • Schüßler, E., Attwood-Charles, W., Kirchner, S., & Schor, J.B. (2021): “Between mutuality, autonomy and domination: Rethinking digital platforms as contested relational structures.” Socio-Economic Review, 19 (4), 1217–1243.
  • Sjödin, D., Parida, V., Jovanovic, M., & Visnjic, I. (2020): “Value creation and value capture alignment in business model innovation: a process view on outcome-based business models.” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 37 (2), 158–183.
  • Uzunca, B., Rigtering, J.P.C., & Ozcan, P. (2018): “Sharing and shaping: A cross-country comparison of how sharing economy firms shape their institutional environment to gain legitimacy.” Academy of Management Discoveries, 4 (3), 248–272.
  • Visnjic, I., Jovanovic, M., & Raisch, S. (2021): “Managing the transition to a dual business model: Tradeoff, paradox, and routinized practices.” Organization Science, first published online on November 4, 2021,
  • Visnjic, I., Neely, A., & Jovanovic, M. (2018): “The path to outcome delivery: Interplay of service market strategy and open business models.” Technovation, 72–73, 46–59.
Georg Reischauer is an Assistant Professor at WU – Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria, and a Fellow at Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria. His research focuses on the nexus of digital strategy, digital organization, and digital sustainability.
Stefan Haefliger s Professor of Strategic Management & Innovation at Bayes Business School, City, University of London, UK. In his research and teaching he focuses on strategy and business models, organisation theory and regulation, and open strategy and open innovation. Over the last ten years, Stefan’s research has appeared in journals such as ‘Organization Studies’, ‘Information Systems Research’, ‘Research Policy’, ‘MIS Quarterly’, ‘Long Range Planning’, and more.
Ivanka Visnjic is an Associate Professor of Innovation at ESADE Business School, Spain, where she also acts as a Director of the Institute for Innovation and Knowledge Management. Her research, teaching and advisory activities focus on discontinuous technological shifts and disruptive and radical innovation in products, services and business models. In particular, Ivanka studies how established companies deal with uncertainty in their environment by developing and bringing to market novel technologies, shifting from product to service business models and delivering customer solutions and outcomes.