Although digital platforms have become important to organizations and society, little is known about how platforms evolve over time. This is particularly true for early-stage platforms provided by entrepreneurial firms competing in nascent markets. This study aims to investigate the relationship between a platform provider's mission and the evolution of its digital platform.
This study conducted an exploratory, multi-case study of startups in the emerging health/fitness wearables market over the period 2007 to 2016.
This study emerged two organizational mission constructs – consistency and specificity – and two evolutionary dynamics of digital platforms – unity and evolution rate. It also considered unity and evolution rate in terms of features created by the platform provider and features connected by external parties. This study found relationships between aspects of mission consistency and platform unity and identified relationships between aspects of mission specificity and platform evolution rates.
This study formalized findings into a set of theoretical propositions, thereby enriching the understanding of the relationship between organizational mission and digital platform evolution in nascent markets. This study provides new constructs and relationships that can be tested and refined in future research.