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Software Ecosystem Governance and Participation - a Case Study at Axis Communications AB

Lantz, Matilda LU and Weijden, Oskar (2013) In 255/2013 TMA820 20131
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
Traditionally software development was performed by one single company. However, the traditional roles are being redefined and software ecosystems are taking software development outside the borders of the software company. Companies are starting to collaborate by using digital platforms and are creating new complex networks of organizations, so called software ecosystems. Software ecosystems are a relatively new area of research and a collective theoretical foundation is starting to emerge. In a software ecosystem, surrounding a platform, the governance activities and decisions of the platform leader influence everyone involved. Therefore it is interesting to understanding how the factors behind participation are affected by the... (More)
Traditionally software development was performed by one single company. However, the traditional roles are being redefined and software ecosystems are taking software development outside the borders of the software company. Companies are starting to collaborate by using digital platforms and are creating new complex networks of organizations, so called software ecosystems. Software ecosystems are a relatively new area of research and a collective theoretical foundation is starting to emerge. In a software ecosystem, surrounding a platform, the governance activities and decisions of the platform leader influence everyone involved. Therefore it is interesting to understanding how the factors behind participation are affected by the governance performed by a platform leader.

The purpose of this master’s thesis is to explore how governance performed by a platform leader affects developer participation in a software ecosystem. The following three research questions were answered:

1.Why do third party developers to join and participate in Axis’ software ecosystem?
2.What makes third party developers hesitant towards joining Axis' software ecosystem?
3.What governance activities are performed by Axis as a platform leader?

Due to the exploratory nature of the master’s thesis a case study approach was chosen. The process of work was conducted in accordance with the case study process presented by Runeson and Höst (2009). Qualitative data was collected through interviews at Axis and with external developers connected to the software ecosystem. Additional information was collected through two surveys and written documentation. Through classifying the software ecosystem according to existing classification models and by analyzing the collected data the research questions were answered and created an understanding for how the governance activities performed by the platform leader affect participation in this software ecosystem

The findings of this master’s thesis indicate that both non performed and performed governance activities by the platform leader has an effect on participation in a software ecosystem, and that the contextual factors set the stage for which governance activities that will be most influential. Furthermore, unsystematically performed governance activities were found to increase the need of a personal relationship and good communication between the platform leader and third party developers in order for the latter to participate. Additionally, the creation and stabilization of application programming interfaces (API:s) were found to be important for developer participation in a software ecosystem where the platform leader offer several product lines. Finally, by not selling directly to end customers the platform leader’s power is diffused over many vendors. This reduces the effects of governance activities and prevents enactment of others; hence reduce the platform leader’s influence on participation. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Lantz, Matilda LU and Weijden, Oskar
supervisor
organization
course
TMA820 20131
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Software, Software Ecosystem, Governance, developer participation
publication/series
255/2013
report number
255/2013
ISSN
1651-0100
language
English
id
3806223
date added to LUP
2015-08-19 11:18:46
date last changed
2015-08-19 11:18:46
@misc{3806223,
  abstract     = {Traditionally software development was performed by one single company. However, the traditional roles are being redefined and software ecosystems are taking software development outside the borders of the software company. Companies are starting to collaborate by using digital platforms and are creating new complex networks of organizations, so called software ecosystems. Software ecosystems are a relatively new area of research and a collective theoretical foundation is starting to emerge. In a software ecosystem, surrounding a platform, the governance activities and decisions of the platform leader influence everyone involved. Therefore it is interesting to understanding how the factors behind participation are affected by the governance performed by a platform leader.

The purpose of this master’s thesis is to explore how governance performed by a platform leader affects developer participation in a software ecosystem. The following three research questions were answered:

1.Why do third party developers to join and participate in Axis’ software ecosystem?
2.What makes third party developers hesitant towards joining Axis' software ecosystem?
3.What governance activities are performed by Axis as a platform leader?

Due to the exploratory nature of the master’s thesis a case study approach was chosen. The process of work was conducted in accordance with the case study process presented by Runeson and Höst (2009). Qualitative data was collected through interviews at Axis and with external developers connected to the software ecosystem. Additional information was collected through two surveys and written documentation. Through classifying the software ecosystem according to existing classification models and by analyzing the collected data the research questions were answered and created an understanding for how the governance activities performed by the platform leader affect participation in this software ecosystem

The findings of this master’s thesis indicate that both non performed and performed governance activities by the platform leader has an effect on participation in a software ecosystem, and that the contextual factors set the stage for which governance activities that will be most influential. Furthermore, unsystematically performed governance activities were found to increase the need of a personal relationship and good communication between the platform leader and third party developers in order for the latter to participate. Additionally, the creation and stabilization of application programming interfaces (API:s) were found to be important for developer participation in a software ecosystem where the platform leader offer several product lines. Finally, by not selling directly to end customers the platform leader’s power is diffused over many vendors. This reduces the effects of governance activities and prevents enactment of others; hence reduce the platform leader’s influence on participation.},
  author       = {Lantz, Matilda and Weijden, Oskar},
  issn         = {1651-0100},
  keyword      = {Software,Software Ecosystem,Governance,developer participation},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {255/2013},
  title        = {Software Ecosystem Governance and Participation - a Case Study at Axis Communications AB},
  year         = {2013},
}