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Multi-sided platform diffusion in competitive B2B networks: inhibiting factors and their impact on network effects

Abstract

Although multi-sided platforms (MSPs) and their diffusion in B2C contexts received heightened attention in recent literature, there is still a dearth of research on MSP diffusion inhibitors in competitive B2B networks. Using the air cargo hub in Frankfurt, Germany, as highly competitive B2B network which struggles with the acceptance of an MSP for over 10 years, we applied a grounded theory approach to identify key inhibitors to MSP diffusion. Based on several interviews with a diverse set of stakeholders and a systematic coding procedure, we identified 21 factors inhibiting MSP diffusion. The majority of these factors slows down or even thwarts positive network effects, typically occurring on MSPs. Furthermore, we derive a classification showing that the inhibiting factors primarily hamper cross-side network effects in highly competitive B2B networks, and to a lesser degree also same-side and mixed-side network effects. Finally, implications of these results and future research directions are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

This project (HA project no.: 534/17-16) is funded by the State of Hesse, Germany and HOLM funding as part of “innovations in the field of logistics and mobility”, Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development, State of Hesse.

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Correspondence to Sören Wallbach.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Research advances in multi-sided platforms

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Wallbach, S., Coleman, K., Elbert, R. et al. Multi-sided platform diffusion in competitive B2B networks: inhibiting factors and their impact on network effects. Electron Markets 29, 693–710 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-019-00382-7

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Keywords

  • Multi-sided platform
  • Diffusion
  • Inhibiting factors
  • Network effects
  • Case study
  • Air cargo

JEL Classification

  • O33 technological change: Choices and consequences
  • Diffusion processes