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The Platform Paradox
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The Platform Paradox
How Digital Businesses Succeed in an Ever-Changing Global Marketplace

Mauro F. Guillén

104 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth 2021 | ISBN 9781613631515 | $45.00s | Outside the Americas £36.00
Paper 2021 | ISBN 9781613631164 | $18.99t | Outside the Americas £14.99
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Wharton School Press

"Mauro Guillén's latest release, The Platform Paradox, offers a clear course of action for the digital age. As Guillén so effectively argues, digital platforms must understand network effects to be successful on a global basis—and the entire business community must transform to meet the demands of our increasingly digital economy."
—William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies
Digital platforms are changing the rules of competition in the global economy. Until recently, it took Fortune 500 companies an average of 20 years to reach billion-dollar market valuations. Successful platforms now reach that milestone in an average of four years.

In The Platform Paradox: How Digital Businesses Succeed in an Ever-Changing Global Marketplace, Wharton professor Mauro F. Guillén highlights a key incongruity in this new world. Most platforms considered to be successful have triumphed in only some, rather than all, parts of the world. There are very few truly global digital platforms.

In more than three decades of studying multinational firms, Guillén has found they often misunderstand key aspects of what it takes to succeed globally, from culture and institutions to local competitive dynamics and pursuing markets in a logical sequence. Seeing multibillion-dollar companies like Amazon flounder in certain markets has led Guillén to research what it takes to create a successful global strategy.

In The Platform Paradox, Guillén details:
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitization and forced companies like Airbnb to pivot and adapt;
  • How platforms like Tinder and Uber have used local advantages to grow rapidly in different countries;
  • How traditional companies have transformed themselves into digital platforms, like Lego undertaking a digital revolution to emerge from bankruptcy and become the "Apple of toys"; and
  • The possibilities and limits to global expansion, as illustrated by companies like Zoom and Skype.
In The Platform Paradox, Guillén offers an integrated framework for these platforms to identify and implement a digital platform strategy on a truly global scale.

Mauro F. Guillén holds the Zandman Endowed Professorship in International Management at the Wharton School. He served as director of the Lauder Institute of Management & International Studies from 2007 to 2019. In September 2021, he starts as Dean of the Cambridge Judge Business School.

He received a PhD in sociology from Yale University and a doctorate in political economy from the University of Oviedo in his native Spain.

He is a trustee of the Royal Foundation of Spain, known as the Fundación Princesa de Asturias, and a member of the advisory board of the Escuela de Finanzas Aplicadas (Grupo Analistas). He serves on advisory groups at the World Economic Forum.

He has won the Aspen Institute's Faculty Pioneer Award. He is an elected fellow of the Sociological Research Association and of the Macro Organizational Behavior Society, a former Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellow, and a member in the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. In 2005 he won the IV Fundación Banco Herrero Prize, awarded annually to the best Spanish social scientist under the age of 40. He has delivered the Clarendon Lectures at Oxford University, the Otto Krause Memorial Lecture at the University of Johannesburg, and the Laurent Picard Distinguished Lecture at McGill University.

He has received a Wharton MBA Core Teaching Award, a Wharton Graduate Association Teaching Award, a Wharton Teaching Commitment and Curricular Innovation Award, the Gulf Publishing Company Best Paper Award of the Academy of Management, the W. Richard Scott Best Paper Award of the American Sociological Association, the Gustavus Myers Center Award for Outstanding Book on Human Rights, and the President's Book Award of the Social Science History Association.

His current research deals with digital platforms, the internationalization of the firm, and the impact of globalization on patterns of organization and on the diffusion of innovations and crises. His most recent books are The Platform Paradox: How Digital Businesses Succeed in an Ever-Changing Global Marketplace (2021), 2030: How Today's Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything (2020), The Architecture of Collapse: The Global System in the Twenty-First Century (2016), Global Turning Points (2012), and Emerging Markets Rule (2012).

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