The potential of sustainability-oriented digital platform multinationals: A comment on the transitions research agenda
This article points at insights from the subfields of international business and strategic management that are relevant for sustainability transitions research. Specifically, building on the emergent ‘mainstream’ literature on ‘generic’ digital platforms, we explain how a range of digital platform multinationals has emerged which address sustainability challenges, and highlight their potential for accelerating multi-sector transitions across geographies. The article does not cover contested platforms such as AirBnB and Uber, but focuses on sustainability-oriented digital platform multinationals (SO-DPMs), which directly tackle social and/or environmental issues by enabling new linkages between individuals and/or organizations. These SO-DPMs deserve more research attention because of their ability to affect sustainability transitions in their own (home) and foreign (host) countries, and realize interconnections and replication across borders. Besides explicating their relevance for sustainability transitions research, we propose promising areas for investigation, considering SO-DPMs, actors in their networks, and society more broadly.
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