Journal of the Association for Information Systems


This study aims to generate a systematic understanding of how digital platform firms can attain platform leadership. We explore the question by casting a boundary management lens over the complex network of interactions on a digital platform. Firms are faced with various boundaries—boundaries of efficiency, competence, power, identity, and ties—and must carefully address tensions within diverse groups of actors with their own interests. We conducted an in-depth case study on China’s largest online ticketing firm and established two contributions for attaining platform leadership. First, we conceptualized the development of a digital platform as a set of technology-based boundary management mechanisms (functional multiplexing, scope expansion, community curation, actor empowerment, and positional escalation) that includes a combination of boundary spanning, erecting, and reinforcing. Second, we uncovered the network dynamics of a digital platform by explicating the synergies and tensions of boundary management. Considering our novel findings, this study offers managerial and design guidelines for a digital platform by advocating an integrative view of boundary management. We present a multidimensional framework that includes five boundaries and four types of networks (dyadic, interconnected, intraconnected, and external) for future analysis of networks built on digital platforms.