Tight and Loose Coupling in Evolving Platform Ecosystems: The Cases of Airbnb and Uber

Andreas Hein, Markus Böhm, and Helmut Krcmar (2018) – International Conference on Business Information Systems (pp. 295-306)


The emergence of digital platforms changes the way how companies interact with their ecosystem. Successful platforms like Apple’s App Store utilize an ecosystem of third-party developers to drive innovation. Those platforms are expanding the sphere of influence beyond internal resources and capabilities by taking advantage of a scalable ecosystem of external developers. However, until now it is unclear on how those companies establish a platform ecosystem. This article draws on two case studies in the form of ridesharing and accommodation platforms to illustrate how they transitioned through four evolutionary phases with the help of tight and loose coupling partnerships.

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