Balancing Platform Control and External Contribution in Third-Party Development: The Boundary Resources Model
Journal article, 2013

Prior research documents the significance of using platform boundary resources (e.g. application programming interfaces) for cultivating platform ecosystems through third-party development. However, there are few, if any, theoretical accounts of this relationship. To this end, this paper proposes a theoretical model that centres on two drivers behind boundary resources design and use – resourcing and securing – and how these drivers interact in third-party development. We apply the model to a detailed case study of Apple’s iPhone platform. Our application of the model not only serves as an illustration of its plausibility but also generates insights about the conflicting goals of third-party development: the maintenance of platform control and the transfer of design capability to third-party developers. We generate four specialised constructs for understanding the actions taken by stakeholders in third-party development: self-resourcing, regulationbased securing, diversity resourcing and sovereignty securing. Our research extends and complements existing platform literature and contributes new knowledge about an alternative form of system development.

third-party development

boundary resources model


application programming interfaces (APIs)




Ahmad Ghazawneh

Jönköping International Business School

Ola Henfridsson

Chalmers, Applied Information Technology (Chalmers), Interaction design

Information Systems Journal

1350-1917 (ISSN) 1365-2575 (eISSN)

Vol. 23 2 173-192

Areas of Advance

Information and Communication Technology


Subject Categories

Information Science



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