On The Role of Module Interdependencies in Platform Evolution

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Modularity of digital platforms is a two-edged sword. Too coarse, and the platform’s ability to innovate is limited while the effort needed to maintain it is immense. Conversely, too granular and structural complexity increases due to interdependencies. Using GitHub data, this study analyzes the influence and kind of dependencies among modules during phases of platform evolution in the context of the OpenStreetMap platform. Applying computational sequence analysis, the findings indicate that beyond merely co-occurring, the introduction of new functionality and the creation of dependencies are constituting parts of the platform’s evolution. The paper thus argues to revisit the role of interdependencies in platform evolution as potential drivers of incremental innovation on digital platforms. By outlining implications to IS literature, the paper demonstrates the potential of a detailed empirical account to contribute to research on digital platforms specifically and digital innovation more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICIS 2017 Proceedings
Number of pages11
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event38th International Conference on Information Systems: Transforming Society with Digital Innovation, ICIS 2017: Transforming Society with Digital Innovation - Coex Convention Center , Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 10 Dec 201713 Dec 2017
Conference number: 38


Conference38th International Conference on Information Systems: Transforming Society with Digital Innovation, ICIS 2017
LocationCoex Convention Center
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems


  • Modularity
  • Digital platforms
  • Platform design
  • Platform evolution
  • Computational methods
  • Sequence analysis
  • Openstreetmap

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