The Complexities of Strategically Creating Value through Digital Platforms: A Case Study of Copenhagen Business School

Frederik Degn Abrahamsen & Rasmus Holmelund Hansen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this study is to investigate the implementation and strategic management of digital platforms at the Danish university of CBS. Digital platforms in higher education is a relevant and current topic among academics. Thus, this research adds to these current tendencies. The method of data collection both qualitative and quantitative. Interviews with professors and members of the administration at CBS is conducted while focus groups and a survey are used to gather data from the students. The data is analysed through a theoretical framework with four main sections, each with a different focus. The aim is to analyse the external pressures that CBS is experiencing, and how the organisation is strategically reacting to these pressures by innovating their education through digital platforms to create value.
The analysis shows that external pressures are affecting institutions of higher education to digitally transform and innovate education. These pressures are enhanced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which forces universities to keep operating by supplying purely online teaching to the students, while also providing the professors with a job during this crisis. This pressures CBS to innovate their teaching by implementing blended learning and a new LMS. The analysis revealed that the administration of CBS is regulating to favour the professors, while students are feeling dissatisfied by the platforms in general. Furthermore, the analysis showed that even though CBS is following proven platform strategies to some extent, the desired value may not be created as the students are generally displeased with several of the approaches and strategic choices made by the administration at CBS. The analysis calls for further theoretical development within digital platforms in education as current theories seemingly fail to account for the complexities involved in managing digital platforms at universities. The current theories focus on utilising network effects to increase the user base of the platforms and create more value through a large user base. However, the value created on digital educational platforms does not necessarily come from a large user base, why more research and theoretical development of this topic is required.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages116
SupervisorsMaximilian Schellmann