The Role of Platforms in Reconciling Logic Pluralism? A Study of Indie App Developers on the iOS Platform
45 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2015
Date Written: October 28, 2015
The software development field has inherently been identified with two field-level institutional logics: logic of the profession and logic of the markets. Traditionally, information systems development methodologies (ISD) have been utilized to reconcile the competing demands from these two logics. In this paper, we study how these two logics manifest in a platform-centric software development context where significant entrepreneurial opportunities are created for independent third-party app developers (indies). Specifically, we study how indie developers manage the two logics on the iOS platform, under the influence of the platform owner Apple. We first identify practices of indie developers consistent with the two field logics across three entrepreneurial domains: app ideation, execution and marketing. Second, we identify areas where the two field logics may be in conflict as well as in coexistence. We show that indie developers enact logic conflict through disagreement and denunciation of the opposing logic. When logics that are inherently opposed appear to coexist, we investigate how app developers manage these opposing demands through a process that we term logic synthesis. We integrate the platform’s impact on indie developers’ logic enactment and logic synthesis. Using a grounded theory approach, we provide a model of field-level market and professional logics operating in mobile app platforms and the practices reflecting such logics within the indie developer community. Our work contributes to the growing literature on platform governance and platform ecosystems, in addition to furthering the study of institutional logics in technology contexts.
JEL Classification: L86, O31, P51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation