Complementor dedication in platform ecosystems: rule adequacy and the moderating role of flexible and benevolent practices

Thomas Hurni, Thomas Huber, Jens Dibbern, Oliver Krancher

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Dedicated complementors are devoted, faithful, and willing to invest in their partnership with a platform owner. Since such complementors promise continuous value co-creation, complementor dedication is an essential objective of platform governance. However, as dedicated complementors also increase their vulnerability vis-à-vis the platform owner, platform governance needs to strike a balance between satisfying global ecosystem needs and the local partnership needs. To understand this challenge better, our study develops six hypotheses on how two fundamental governance mechanisms – i.e., rules and the way in which these rules are practised – independently and symbiotically drive complementor dedication. We test these hypotheses using survey data from 181 complementors. Our findings show that complementors become more dedicated to a platform owner, the more adequate they perceive the rules to be. Furthermore, our findings suggest two sensible strategies to actualise the potential of adequate rules. Platform owners should either refrain entirely from practising rules with situational flexibility and benevolence, thereby achieving moderate complementor dedication. Alternatively, they should practice rules with both flexibility and benevolence at the same time, thereby maximising complementor dedication. Our findings contribute to the literature on platform governance and broader governance literature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Information Systems
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Platform ecosystems
  • complementor dedication
  • platform governance
  • rule adequacy
  • governance practices
  • flexibility
  • benevolence
  • three-way interaction
  • Complementor engagement


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