INSTITUTIONAL LOGICS, INDIE SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS AND PLATFORM GOVERNANCE
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This two-essay dissertation aims to study institutional logics in the context of Apple's independent third-party software developers. In essay 1, I investigate the embedded agency aspect of the institutional logics theory. It builds on the premise that logics constrain preferences, interests and behaviors of individuals and organizations, thereby determining the appropriate and legitimate decisions and actions of actors. In the meantime, most social actors operate in fields characterized by multiple institutional logics where contradictions exist, allowing individuals and organizations with opportunities for negotiation and change through exploitation or management of these contradictions. I specifically study two competing institutional logics: professional and market logics when they are experienced simultaneously by independent iOS app entrepreneurs. Using participant observation and semi-structured interviews, I delineate the ways in which logic tension is reconciled through mechanisms of logic synthesis in three entrepreneurial areas - app ideation, app execution and app marketing, and conditions which facilitate or inhibit logic synthesis. In essay 2, I study the emergence and evolution of field-level logics in the context of Apple's desktop developers - Mac indies. Following the cultural emergence model of field-level logics in Thornton et al. (2012), and the argument that "field-level logics are both embedded in societal-level logics and subject to field-level processes that generate distinct forms of instantiation, variation, and combination of societal logics" (p148), I particularly examine the relationship between resource environment and the emergence and evolution of field-level logics. Taking advantage of a critical change in developers' resource environment - Apple's opening of the iOS App Store and subsequently the Mac App Store, and hence its governance model shifting from mainly a technological platform to a platform that includes a market exchange place, I identify developers' logics before and after the change, namely, the software ecosystem logic and platform ecosystem logic. Two ideal types are constructed for the logics along elemental categories, and a content analysis demonstrates the logic shift pattern as resource environments change. A further analysis of the two logics suggests that the software ecosystem logic and platform ecosystem logic are in contestation at this early stage of institutional change.