Governing nonprofit platform ecosystems – an information platform for refugees

Maximilian Schreieck, Manuel Wiesche, and Helmut Krcmar (2017) – Information Technology for Development, 23(3), 618-643


The number of refugees arriving in Europe increased dramatically in 2015. Following arrival at the host country, refugees need access to information on various topics such as applying for asylum, medical care, educational offerings, jobs, or social activities. As many different parties using different channels provide this information, refugees struggle to access relevant information at the right time. Our goal in addressing this information deficit is to support a digital information platform for refugees by developing a governance strategy for the ecosystem of information providers. Within an action research study based on a nonprofit project, we evaluate the implementation of governance mechanisms derived from platform and community governance literature. Our results show that governance mechanisms are implemented differently for nonprofit platform ecosystems than for commercial platform ecosystems. These results enhance the societal impact of the information platform developed in the project. The study contributes to theory on governance of platform ecosystems and IT-enabled collaboration by evaluating established governance mechanisms in the context of nonprofit platforms.

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