Standardization and Multi-sided markets

NEN co-funds two new PhD research projects at Delft and Eindhoven

Two new PhD positions at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and the Delft University of Technology are initiated by the Dutch Foundation for Research and Education on Standardization, which aims to promote scientific research and education in the field of standardization.

These two PhD research projects contribute substantially to the objectives of the Foundation and emphasize in a scientific manner the increasing importance of compatibility standards and multi-sided platforms in this complex world.

One of the studies will focus on the role of pervasive standards in the current age of grand technological challenges, while the other will focus on network effects affecting the establishment of a single standard or a single platform.

Global challenges enhance the importance of pervasive standards
Global challenges in sustainability, energy, and mobility require smart and connected solutions, making the development of technical standards more important than ever before. Standards will become much more ubiquitous, yet we know relatively little how this affects the ecosystem in which standards emerge, the actors within this ecosystem, and society. This study aims to provide more insights into this.

Social inefficiencies in standardization and multi-sided markets
The economic concept beneath compatibility standards and multi-sided markets (or platforms) is that their network effects might lead to strong monopolistic power. This affects the current economic scenario with respect to several aspects, such as the deteriorating working conditions of platform companies or the complete deletion of traditional markets. Balancing their profit strategies with targeted regulation policies could help mitigating this power concentration.

Influence of complex stakeholders networks on the creation of common standards
Geerten van de Kaa, Associate Professor of Standardization and Business Strategy at TUD, explains: ‘As more and more types of stakeholders get involved in standardization, coordination is getting more difficult. This may result in a stalemate in the sense that common standards to meet the challenges will not be achieved. This project aims to study the influence of the characteristics of the stakeholder network for standardization on the chances that a single standard is achieved’.

Foundation for Research and Education on Standardization
The PhD researchers have started their projects in September 2020. These projects are initiated by the Dutch Foundation for Research and Education on Standardization, a collaboration between NEN, the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University (RSM), the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and the Delft University of Technology (TUD). This creates a strong Dutch research network in the field of standardization.

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People involved