Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Service platforms make software applications available as a service to end users. Platforms enable noticeable economic benefits for scaling and transforming a business. Their long-term competitiveness is ensured in controlled cooperation with channel intermediaries and network partners. Hence, service platforms must be designed to harness self-enforcing effects of value generation, so-called network effects. In an exaptation of existing knowledge, we present an information systems design theory to inform the design of methods that analyze, describe, and guide the design of service platforms through the means of causal loops and control methods. We describe the theory’s purpose and scope as well as the underlying justificatory knowledge behind the constructs and principles of form and function. The design theory covers the design of all service platform participants and activities as well as their transactions and influences in areas of staged platform authority, using enforcing and incentivizing control methods. We demonstrate the principles of implementation with an expository instantiation and apply it to the M-Engineering service platform, which offers surveillance, control, and data acquisition solutions. Furthermore, we present and discuss testable propositions and a study design to evaluate our design principles.





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