Multi-Sided B2B Platforms


Technology-Enabled Multi-Sided Platforms in B2B Settings: Challenges and Opportunities for Supply Chain Ecosystems, Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 1 Jul 2022

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: Maja Arslanagić-Kalajdžić


Call for Papers

Technology-enabled multi-sided platforms in B2B settings: challenges and opportunities for supply chain ecosystems

 Deadline for submission: July 1st, 2022

Overview and purpose of the special issue

Multi-sided platforms (MSPs) have been around for several decades. However, only recently, MSPs have become prominent in the economy, primarily due to the internet and digitization wave across many industries. MSPs can be defined as “all forms of networked business where multiple suppliers and customers interact for economic purposes within one or among multiple tiers in economic value chains” (Alt and Zimmerman, 2014, p. 162). At the center of an MSP, a platform provider enables a transaction between the sides, reducing the relative transaction costs.

MSPs literature dates back to the beginning of the century in the economic literature (Rochet and Tirole, 2006; Parker and Van Alstyne, 2005), but has seen a significant improvement in the last decade taking a strategic and a managerial perspective (e.g., Gawer and Cusumano, 2014; Muzellec et al., 2015). Flagship examples are the well-known Airbnb and Uber, with many social phenomena like sharing economy or gig economy supported by these business models (Trabucchi et al., 2019).

Over the last years, a significant stream of literature has focused on the intersection between platforms and ecosystems, referred to as “platform ecosystems,” which considers how actors organize around a platform (Perks et al., 2017; Jacobides et al., 2018). Ecosystems and platforms get in touch in various ways, for example looking at complementors’ engagement (e.g., Wang and Miller, 2020), the implications for international businesses (Nambisan e al., 2019), or the value-added services offered by the ecosystem (Hein et al., 2019).

Authors have also noticed that many flourishing technologies are heavily relying on these business models, like the internet of things (e.g., Basaure et al., 2020), blockchain (Pereira et al., 2018; Trabucchi et al., 2020), and artificial intelligence (Magistretti et al., 2019).

Although platforms have been extensively addressed in the economic, information systems, and innovation management literature streams, they did so mainly with a B2C focus, with the vast majority of the studies mentioned above taking an end-user perspective. This is surprising, considering the strong connection existing between platforms and supply chain goals as, among the main benefits of using platforms, we have a reduction of transaction costs and an increase of transparency and information sharing (Evans and Schmalansee, 2016).

There are several opportunities connected to the use of MSPs to reach higher efficiency and effectiveness in managing B2B relationships. First of all, several disruptive technological changes in supply chains are driven by platform-based business models. Technological innovations such as additive manufacturing, FinTech solutions, and blockchain are based on the design of B2B relationships that could be framed into platform-based ecosystems (e.g., Pereira et al., 2019; Benitez et al., 2020; Cai et al., 2020; Yu et al., 2020).

Further, the possibility to create ecosystems relying on digital technologies and MSPs as the primary interaction channel enables companies to gather a considerable amount and variety of data that generate opportunities for supply chain visibility and integration (Hahn, 2020). This generated opportunities to design new types of supply chain strategies and industrial collaborations (Wiengarten et al., 2013).

In summary, these platforms profoundly change the design of value chain networks and how B2B relationships between supply chain actors (i.e., suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, IT providers, and governments) take place. On these premises, this special issue aims to take a full B2B view on technology-enabled multi-sided platforms and ecosystems and collect contributions focused on the opportunities related to the use of multi-sided platforms to transform B2B relationships in different supply chain contexts.

Possible topics of interest can be related (but not limited) to provide an answer to the following questions:

  • What theoretical lenses could explain the adoption of B2B MSPs in platforms ecosystems?
  • What is the relationship between platform ecosystems and the adoption of other digital technologies (e.g., AI, blockchain, Industry 4.0, Big data) in B2B settings?
  • What is the role of B2B MSPs in establishing partnerships/channel relationships with other supply chain actors?
  • What is the impact of B2B MSPs in driving more circular and sustainable supply chain models?
  • What are the leading countries and/or industries in the adoption of B2B MSPs to manage supply chain relationships?
  • How is the introduction of B2B MSPs transforming supply chain strategic decisions and network configurations?
  • How are B2B MSPs enabling more structured internal and external performance measurement systems?
  • How do new technologies favor higher integration and visibility in B2B relationships?

We seek contributions able to advance the knowledge about the role of MSPs in B2B settings from both the theoretical and managerial perspectives. We expect manuscripts to be rigorous and theoretically grounded (in the innovation and/or industrial marketing literature), but with practical and actionable implications.

We welcome papers focusing on strategic, operational, technological, welfare and sustainability aspects related to various supply chain technology-based MSPs (including app distribution platforms, sharing economy, etc.). Contributions focused on supply chain topics, but with B2C implications, are not deemed suitable for this call.

Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies are considered suitable for the call (preferably with a multi-tier approach and/or implications for multiple B2B actors in the supply chain). Conceptual/theory papers, literature reviews, and modeling papers are not considered in the scope of this call.

Preparation and submission of paper and review process

Papers submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Submissions should be about 6,000-8,000 words in length. Copies should be uploaded on Industrial Marketing Management’s homepage through the Editorial management system. You need to upload your paper using the dropdown box for the special issue on VSI: Technology-enabled multi-sided platforms in B2B settings. For guidelines, visit

Papers not complying with the notes for contributors (cf. homepage) or poorly written will be desk rejected. Suitable papers will be subjected to a double-blind review; hence, authors must not identify themselves in the body of their paper. Please do not submit a Word file with “track changes” active or a PDF file. Manuscripts falling within the scope of the special issue (as described above) and deemed to have a reasonable chance of conditional acceptance after no more than two rounds of revisions will enter the review process.

Important dates


  • Launch of the Call for Paper: September, 2022
  • Online webinar for the presentation of the call for paper: November, 2022
  • Submission of proposals: January 28th, 2022

Authors who wish to contribute to the Special Issue have the possibility to present their working paper in a paper development workshop organized during @Symplatform ( Participation is free of charge, and more information will be provided in the coming weeks.

Authors interested to submit to the Special Issue and participate to the event must send an extended abstract/proposal to the editorial team no later than January 28th, 2022, including:

  • Title
  • Names and affiliations of all authors and corresponding author contact details
  • Extended abstract/proposal (no more than three pages), including a brief explanation (100 words max) of the paper’s fit with the call.
  • Editorial decision about the received proposals: February 28th, 2022

Please note that participation in the workshop is suggested, but not mandatory to submit to the special issue. Similarly, acceptance of the proposal and participation in the workshop does not guarantee publication in the special issue. Each paper will undergo a rigorous double-blind review process in line with IMM standards.

Review process:

  • Deadline for first submission: July 1st, 2022 (opening May 1st, 2022)
  • First editorial decision: August 31st, 2022
  • End of the first round of revisions: October 30th, 2022
  • Second editorial decision: November 30th, 2022
  • Other rounds of revisions: November 2022– May 2023
  • Anticipated Final editorial decision: June 2023

Guest editors

  • Daniel Trabucchi, PhD* (, Assistant Professor, School of Management, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
  • Andrea Patrucco, PhD* (, Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing and Logistics, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA
  • Tommaso Buganza, PhD (, Associate Professor, School of Management, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
  • Laurent Muzellec, PhD (, Full Professor, Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
  • Sébastien Rounteau, PhD (, Associate Professor, Audencia Business School, Nantes, France.

* Corresponding guest editors

For any questions related to the special issue, please send an email to the Corresponding Guest Editors.


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