The paper aims to explain how and why organizations, providing assistive devices and related web services for elderly independent living services, might be willing to collaborate and to share their resources and data on a common service platform.
A theoretical framework from literature on collective action theory, platform and business ecosystem concepts was developed to explain what factors influence inter-organizational collective action for a common service platform. The framework was tested in a case study of collaborative platform project for independent living services in Finland. Semi-structured interviews with the project managers and the decision makers of involved organizations were the primary source of data collection.
Strikingly, interdependency among the organizations was not found to be important for collaboration in this case. Instead, we found that a central organization can play an important role in initiating, facilitating and encouraging collaboration among different parties. Moreover, we found more willingness for collaboration when the platform is aimed to be open to third-parties to complement the platform with additional services.
Strategies of the platform leader and openness of the platform towards third parties are the most important drivers for collective action between organizations offering independent living services. Establishing common service platforms for independent living services requires explicit attention to these inter-organizational issues.