Institutional Transformation Through Digital Platforms: Enablers and Inhibitors of Growth in Emerging Ecosystems

Ms Gwee Yah Ting
Dr Faik, Isam, Assistant Professor, School of Computing

  20 Aug 2018 Monday, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

 Executive Classroom, COM2-04-02


This thesis investigates the growing adoption of digital platforms, particularly sharing economy platforms, and its relation to the social transformation and development of communities. While a number of studies have examined the processes and strategies of digital platforms, research on the relationship between digital platforms and their broader institutional environment remains limited. To contribute to a better understanding of this relationship, I draw on two case studies of popular sharing economy platforms in Indonesia. The first is GO-JEK, which is a transport, logistics and payment platform that started as a ride-hailing for motorcycles before it expanded to other services. The second is iGrow, which is a platform that connects under-employed farmers with urban investors and owners of underutilized land to create opportunities for better agricultural productivity.

Using an interpretive approach, this thesis studies how these two acclaimed platforms affect and are affected by the prevalent institutional conditions in their respective fields. The first case investigates how GO-JEK contributed to the formalization of the informal ride-hailing sector in Indonesia. It offers a theoretical framework that links the formalization processes to the shifts in institutional logics instigated by the digital platform. The second case examines how the deployment of the iGrow platform provided an "organizing vision" for a new agricultural ecosystem. This allowed the platform to expand the pool of actors engaged in agricultural production by overcoming key institutional constraints limiting the growth of the ecosystem: trust, participation capabilities, and agility.