The Varying Effects of Standardization on Digital Platform Innovation: Evidence from OpenStreetMap

Laurin Arnold, Philipp Hukal

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


We investigate the effects of standardization as a measure of direct control on digital platform innovation. Specifically, we study the standardization of parameters and procedures implemented in the web editing API on the popular geo-data platform, OpenStreetMap. Using a regression based approach to interrupted time series analysis, we assess the quantity and quality of new output generated on the platform before and after the standardization. We find that the intervention had varying effects on the innovations generated on OpenStreetMap: While the output in total number of affected data objects as well as the rate with which they were added decreased with the intervention, the level of detail with which data objects are described increased -- but only for those objects that were not in the immediate focus of the standardization. We frame these findings through the rich body of work on standardization and innovation in the technology management literature and engage a long standing tension in research on digital platforms -- the balance between control and innovation on platforms. We discuss the prospect of standardization as one way to directly control the balance between desirable and undesirable variation necessary for platforms to innovate as standardization restricts some activity, while enabling others.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventDRUID23 Conference - NOVA School of Business and Economics, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 10 Jun 202312 Jun 2023
Conference number: 44


ConferenceDRUID23 Conference
LocationNOVA School of Business and Economics
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