Decision-Making in Open Platform Networks
: Sensemaking of Complementors' Innovation Success in a New Platform

  • Mahrokh Roknifard

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    With the rise of open platforms, the position and involvement of complementors in the app economy are becoming incredibly prominent. However, making sense of the platform ecosystem and building a strategy to reach a competitive advantage has been a challenge for complementors since the formation of open platforms.

    This research investigates complementors information processing and decision-making after joining a new platform. A conceptual framework has been developed as the result of this investigation that specifies different cognitive beliefs that complementors have in forming their strategies to overcome the limitations. The empirical phase of this thesis investigated this framework taking an interpretive approach and using the cognitive mapping as a qualitative method of analysis.

    The results of this study make the following contributions. Firstly, competition is among developers' knowledge and skills rather than their products in a newly opened platform. Therefore, complementors form their strategic decision-making by recruiting strong team members.

    Secondly, to develop in a platform with a focus on niche markets, complementors are highly dependent on customers from the early stages of their development to be able to finish and launch their projects. Thirdly, satisfied customers and background work experiences are more critical for future development than the project's features. Finally, personal leadership style allows developers to effectively manage the production process by regularly contacting clients and addressing their project requirements.

    This thesis has made a contribution to cognitive mapping approach by introducing a new approach for data collection. Using Google Docs as an online platform allowed this study to approach participants globally. In conclusion, a longitudinal study is recommended to evaluate the changes in strengths of the beliefs developers have.
    Date of AwardMay 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorIan Combe (Supervisor), Iftakar Haji (Supervisor) & David Carrington (Supervisor)


    • Open Platform
    • Complementors
    • Decision-Making
    • Cognitive Maps
    • Mental Model
    • Schemata

    Cite this