IIMA - Course Catalogue
Marketplaces and Platforms: Gaining Insights, Orchestrating Interactions
Production & Quantitative Methods
Prof. Saral Mukherjee
Course Description & Objectives
General Description and Intent of the Course:
Marketplaces and Multi-sided Platforms have become important intermediaries in delivering value to customers. Challenges in managing these platforms include the need to orchestrate interactions and gather insights when the stakeholders who are transacting on multiple sides are not employees of the platform. Coordination is an important function in both Hierarchies and Markets. Operations Management as a discipline emerged from scientific management principles applied in industrial organisations. The traditional coordination mechanisms thus focus on intra-firm tools like MRP or ERP etc. or inter-firm coordination in a JIT or Supply Chain context. The advent of marketplaces and platforms, powered by increasing smartphone penetration, has led to the coordination function becoming even more central in the new business models. For example, coordination is critical in sharing economy with peer-to-peer interactions for collaborative sourcing, collaborative production and collaborative consumption.
A common construct in all these diverse platforms and markets is the need to coordinate a large number of individuals/businesses with varying needs, capabilities and motivations. Instead of a “Command and Control” orientation, managers need to adopt a “Coordinate and Cultivate” orientation in dealing with marketplaces and platforms. The role of the coordinator potentially allows access to sensitive information about individuals and hence there are needs for designing safeguards and self-regulation for sustainability of the business model.
Learning Objectives of the Course:
The course “Marketplaces and Platforms: Gaining Insights, Orchestrating Interactions” aims to build an understanding of centralized and decentralized coordination mechanisms. The course would focus on the value of coordination in different contexts and ways to unlock the value. The different modules of the course discuss the different kinds of marketplaces, the different kinds of roles that the platform operator performs as an intermediary, the challenges in growing the platform, competition between platforms and pipelines etc. The last two modules of the course would focus on a controversial aspect of platforms, the possibility of behavioural modification at scale and the positive and negative applications of this power. This course is likely to benefit students who desire to take up entrepreneurial or managerial opportunities in marketplace operations or governing multi-sided platforms.
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