PACIS 2020 Proceedings


SMEs are the backbone of most economies. However, their limited resources and capabilities represent significant challenges to survive in the hypercompetitive digital environment for market activities. In particular, the lack of marketing capabilities amongst SMEs undermines their competitiveness and threatens their viability. Increasingly, SMEs attempt to acquire these capabilities by adopting multisided platforms. Yet, our understanding of the platforms’ role in helping or hindering the development of marketing capabilities amongst SMEs remains limited. This paper develops a theoretical framework to further our understanding of this phenomenon based on a qualitative field study of 19 SMEs. Our findings highlight five key marketing capabilities that SMEs develop by leveraging on a third-party platform. However, our study also indicates that various aspects of the platform use were hindering the development of marketing capabilities. We provide an integrative framework of this dual effect of multi-sided platforms on the capabilities of SMEs.



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