Essays on Strategy and Management of Platforms

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Essays on Strategy and Management of Platforms

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Title: Essays on Strategy and Management of Platforms
Author: Doshi, Anil Rajnikant ORCID  0000-0002-8489-3373
Citation: Doshi, Anil Rajnikant. 2015. Essays on Strategy and Management of Platforms. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Business School.
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Abstract: In this thesis, I research the management of platforms by participating organizations and study the ensuing performance of both participating organizations and the platform.

In the first essay, titled ``The Impact of High Performance Outliers on Two-Sided Platforms: Evidence from Crowdfunding,'' I study how one kind of observable on platforms affects both the subsequent entry decision of organizations and the performance of the platform. I focus on the arrival of high performing sellers and study how these ``outliers'' affect the subsequent growth and liquidity of the platform. In the context of the two largest rewards-based crowdfunding platforms, I find that outliers are followed by a relative increase in entry and transaction volume on the competing platform. Moreover, this average effect is stronger for marginal, or low quality, sellers. Within the platform hosting the outlier, transaction volume increases for sellers in the same product category as the outlier, but this average effect reverses for outliers in certain product categories. The results suggest that the impact of heterogeneous users depends on platform rules, and that in addition to pricing, competing platforms may selectively focus on attracting users with high performance potential to achieve the desired mix of buyers and sellers.

In the second essay, titled ``Social Media, Loyalty, and Organizational Performance'' (written with Shiladitya Ray), we study how the interactions between users and organizations on social media relate to organizational performance outcomes. Specifically, we explore the relationship between expressions of loyalty on social media and performance. We relate the number of followers on Twitter to television show ratings and find that change in the number of individuals following an organization's Twitter account prior to the realization of a repeated performance outcome is positively associated with that outcome. We present evidence of the heterogeneity in the effect, showing that the relationship is stronger for organizations that match the demographics of the social network and niche product categories. We also show that higher levels of a show's initial following mitigates the relationship between followers and performance for shows in niche categories, and tentatively strengthens it for show's in non-niche categories.

In addition to considering the theoretical relationship between social media and organizational performance, we employ a parsimonious prediction model relating the two, showing that a model with social media measures outperforms both a baseline autoregressive model and a model that includes search data.In so doing, we extend recent literature that uses real-time data to predict current economic indicators by using social media data to predict organizational performance outcomes.Our results indicate that technological innovations can diminish the distance between the organization's bounaries and outside stakeholders.
This reduction in distance underlines the importance for firms to attend to their non-transaction interactions on social media.

In the final essay, titled ``Organizational Management of Social Media,'' I address how organizations manage activities on social media, beginning with the decision to adopt social media and its rate of diffusion within the organization. In the context of television show adoption of Twitter, I show that larger organizations and organizations started more recently more readily adopted social media. I also provide evidence highlighting the heterogeneity in organizational approaches to social media. By looking at the heterogeneity in the rates of diffusion, I am able to distinguish differences in approaches to social media management along three dimensions: the timing, the speed, and the centrality of management within the organization. Finally, I show the changing nature of diffusion of a technology in an industry over time. By applying theories of strategy and innovation management, I underscore the importance of considering the impact of social media on the organization and processes of the firm.
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