The Role of Platforms in Reconciling Logic Pluralism? A Study of Indie App Developers on the iOS Platform

45 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2015

See all articles by Qiu Yixin

Qiu Yixin

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business

Anandasivam Gopal

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business

Il-Horn Hann

University of Maryland - Decision and Information Technologies Department

Date Written: October 28, 2015

Abstract

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

Yixin, Qiu and Gopal, Anandasivam and Hann, Il-Horn, The Role of Platforms in Reconciling Logic Pluralism? A Study of Indie App Developers on the iOS Platform (October 28, 2015). Robert H. Smith School Research Paper No. RHS 2682548, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2682548 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2682548

Qiu Yixin

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business ( email )

College Park, MD 20742-1815
United States

Anandasivam Gopal (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business ( email )

College Park, MD 20742-1815
United States

Il-Horn Hann

University of Maryland - Decision and Information Technologies Department ( email )

Robert H. Smith School of Business
4313 Van Munching Hall
College Park, MD 20815
United States

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