Essays on firm strategies and consumer dynamics in socially embedded technology networks
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It is of deep interest to researchers and practitioners in Information System (IS) to understand the efficacy of the traditional IS and economics theory in modern business environments such as online social networks. In the pursuit to understand such new IS phenomenon and address the gap in extant literature, my dissertation, identifies the strategies that the firms should incorporate in the presence of network effects; i.e., the increases in benefits accrued by a network user with an increase in the number of users, and its impact on consumer behavior. My first essay, challenges the traditional notion that network effects create a strong protective moat for the incumbent in network competition. I show that network effects are over rated in multi-homing setting, where users can co-exist across multiple networks under resource constraints. Over reliance on the strength of network effects by the incumbent firm in multi-homing setting, stems from extant economic theory that is applicable to single homing networks, where users has to choose one of the available networks. The first essay recommends strategies for the level of innovation and its time of delivery that firms should incorporate in order to survive and succeed in multi-homing environment. While the first essay focuses on multi-homing and the strength of network effects, the second essay revisits firm's preemption strategy in single homing setting with network effects, in order to prevent its users from migrating to a new entrant with better technology. I find that, for moderate levels of price and innovation competition, an incumbent with high reputation is better off being non-committal in its preemption. In contrast, committal preemption is apt for other combinations of reputation, innovation and price. While the first two essays focus on the impact of consumer behavior on firm strategies, the third essay delves into the impact of firm strategies on consumer behavior. In particular, I identify identity revelation policies that increase the number of successful transactions and collaborations in a socially embedded marketplace. The results imply that revealing social identities may be detrimental to negotiation and collaboration in a socially embedded marketplace -- a notion that is counter intuitive to networks that are inherently social.