Creating the Foundation for a Functioning Internal Platform

  • Mikko HänninenEmail author
  • Olli Rusanen
  • Lauri Paavola
Part of the Translational Systems Sciences book series (TSS, volume 11)


This chapter provides an empirical example of how platform theory can be used to study organizational networks. Platform theories have recently received increased attention from academics, as digitalization has fueled the implementation of digital platforms and platform-based business models across a wide range of industrial settings. However, despite the increased interest toward platforms, most of the research is still confined to the economics and engineering schools of thought. In this chapter, we address this theoretical and empirical gap by providing an empirical example of a retail cooperative that can be characterized and analyzed as an internal platform. We study how this type of organization is managed, focusing on the change process through which the organization shifted from a crisis organization in the early 1980s to an efficient platform-like organization by the mid-1990s. By comparing the organization before and after changes in its organizational structures and practices, we identify the steps taken to make the most use of a platform-like organizational structure. We identify three building blocks created by the central organization that provided the foundation for the cooperative’s future success: the divestment of value-destroying and non-valuable resources, preventing exploitative use of resources, and enabling participants to identify and create new activities. Through our case study, we provide future research avenues to the internal platform stream of platform literature and invite empirical research that applies platform literature to different contexts, for example, to looking at platforms also as an organizing and organizational form.


Platform Internal platform Decentralized organization Retail Strategic management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MarketingAalto University School of BusinessHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Management StudiesAalto University School of BusinessHelsinkiFinland

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