Service in the Platform Context: A Review of the State of the Art and Future Research

  • Xia HanEmail author
  • Veronica Martinez
  • Andy Neely
Part of the Translational Systems Sciences book series (TSS, volume 11)


Traditional ways of doing business have been turned upside down by a group of new companies. Uber is “the world’s largest taxi-company owns no vehicles”. Facebook is “the world’s most popular media owner creates no content”, and Airbnb is “the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no real estate”. This relatively new research phenomenon requires a comprehensive understanding. This systematic literature review explores and questions “platform” research in the context of services.

This article studies 133 articles between 2002 and 2016. The findings suggest that the service platform is an increasingly popular field of research with a wide spectrum of disciplines across 74 journals. It is gaining momentum moving from theoretical to an empirical research area. Ninety-one articles included empirical data.

The definition of a service platform has been categorized in three major groups. They are the architectural researches (n = 37), the economic group (n = 21), a comprehensive definition (n = 48) and generic (n = 27), which is a group of papers that did not explicitly discuss the core features of platforms. This literature review develops a taxonomy of research topics based on their research focus: (1) service architecture, (2) platform’s impact on services and (3) service platform strategy. Finally, three key challenges are identified, which also serve as opportunities for future research.


Service platform Multi-sided platform Literature review 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cambridge Service Alliance, Institute for ManufacturingUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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