Abstract: We examine how a company’s digital upper echelons—the members of the top management team with IT-related responsibilities as their primary role—impact the success of digital platform strategies. Focusing on the S&P1500 companies, we show that an initial negative effect of digital platform strategies on a company’s growth opportunities becomes positive after a lag of six years. We find that this positive effect only holds for companies that implement the digital platform organically (“build strategy”) and not for companies that acquire a digital platform (“buy strategy”). Second, we examine the moderating effect of the maturity of digital upper echelon positions. We analyze whether emergent digital upper echelon positions, such as chief digital officers (CDOs) or established digital upper echelon positions, such as chief information and chief technology officers (CIOs, CTOs), have a greater influence on a digital platform strategy’s success. While we do not find a clear positive moderating effect for either position, a post-hoc test reveals that the presence of a CDO has a positive moderating effect for the build strategy but a partially negative effect for the buy strategy. Our findings contribute to understanding why some companies are successful with digital platform strategies while others are not.
Short CV: Maximilian Schreieck is an Assistant Professor for Information Systems, in particular Digital Services and Platforms, at the Department of Information Systems, Production and Logistics Management at the University of Innsbruck. He holds a Ph.D. in Information Systems from the Technical University of Munich (TUM). From 2020 to 2021 he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Chair for Information Systems at TUM and from 2021 to 2022 he was visiting scholar and DFG Walter Benjamin Fellow at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Maximilian’s research interests include digital platform ecosystems, platform governance, digital transformation of established companies, and digital platforms for social causes. His research has been published in the Journal of the AIS, European Journal of Information Systems, Journal of Information Technology, Business & Information Systems Engineering, Electronic Markets, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Information Technology for Development, and conference proceedings such as ICIS, AOM, ECIS, HICSS, AMCIS, and PACIS.