Staying Competitive with Platform-as-a-Service: A Study of the Interplay Between Affordances and Dynamic Capabilities

Tobias Stokholm Jacobsen & Victor Holving Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The adoption of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is projected to grow significantly during the coming years. However, the competitive impact of PaaS on organizations has received limited attention. Drawing from both affordance and dynamic capabilities theory, we explored which action possibilities PaaS provides to organizations and how they interplay with the ability to build dynamic capabilities. We used the grounded theory methodology to produce an analytical framework based on interviews with ten respondents from six organizations operating in different industries. The framework was applied to identify five basic affordances, which, when actualized, can lead to greater innovativeness, enhanced business viability and increased flexibility for organizations. We discussed how these complex affordances, in turn, are interrelated with dynamic capabilities. Our study also identified barriers that can impede the affordances from being actualized. Collectively, our findings are synthesized in a substantive theory. The study contributes to the literature on PaaS as well as ITenabled dynamic capabilities by unveiling that cloud computing technology can help build dynamic capabilities in organizations. The results suggest that organizations can leverage PaaS through its action possibilities to remain competitive in dynamic markets.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages140
SupervisorsTill J. Winkler