Navigating nascent platform legitimacy: A framework for the dynamic deployment of framing strategies.

About the Research

We examine how firms sponsoring nascent platforms use framing strategies gain legitimacy with target audiences that are not just heterogeneous but also interdependent.

Unlike offerings that provide standalone value for their users, a nascent platform’s value largely depends on its ability to attract a critical mass of both end users and complementors. Yet, these heterogeneous audiences often find it difficult to evaluate a platform’s value before joining it. For nascent platforms to be perceived as comprehensible, appealing, and appropriate, sponsoring firms therefore need to convey messages that address the potentially divergent concerns of both audiences both synchronically and diachronically. First, we propose two framing strategy archetypes—radical and conformist—and highlight how they complement well-known technological and economic strategies for platforms. Then, we develop a framework that depicts the content and sequence of framing strategies that platform sponsors can use to attract end users and complementors. Our work reveals four distinct pathways for tackling nascent platform legitimacy challenges over time through framing. The resulting theory informs our understanding of effective framing in the presence of multiple heterogeneous audiences and deepens our knowledge of framing strategies to gain legitimacy among target audiences.

About Shaz Ansari

Shaz Ansari is a Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, Professorial Fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge and Honorary Professor at UCL, UK. He holds a PhD from University of Cambridge. He serves on the Editorial Boards of ASQ, AMJ, AMR, SMJ, Organization Science, Journal of Management StudiesOrganization Studies, and RSO, where he has also published. His research interests include framing and social movements, technological and management innovations, platform ecosystems, new markets, social and environmental challenges, creation of commons, identity and reputation, institutional change, and the diffusion of practices. He has contributed to executive education programs in many organizations, including McKinsey, Mastercard, Roche, Airbus, Tencent, Everbright Group, Shell, British Telecom, China Development Bank, China Life, Nokia, Laing O’Rourke, Barclays Bank, Stonehage Fleming, Chaucer insurance, UNICEF, ICBC, China Minsheng bank, Essex County Council, KLEC (Kuala Lumpur Education City) and Nigerian Ministry of Education and Development. He has consulted with several organizations, Shell, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and and ABN-Amro Senior executives (mostly) and for various companies in India, Pakistan and China including finance, insurance, telecoms, FMCGs, and e-commerce/platforms.

Date: Thursday 17 November, 2022

Time: 12:00-13:30 CET

Venue: Room A345 (Zoom link provided to registered attendees)

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