Understanding governance mechanisms and health in software ecosystems: A systematic literature review

Carina Alves*, Joyce Oliveira, Slinger Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


In a software ecosystem, organizations work collaboratively to remain profitable and survive market changes. For the relationship between these organizations to succeed, it is necessary to participate in the ecosystem software without violating rules of collaboration or to take advantages that destabilize the general health of the ecosystem. The application of governance mechanisms is essential for achieving this balance. Governance mechanisms are employed to define the level of control, rights of decision and scope of owner versus shared ownership in an ecosystem. Selecting appropriate governance mechanisms, organizations can gain strategic advantage over others leading them to better performance and, consequently, to be healthier. In this article, we report a systematic literature review that aggregates definitions of software ecosystem governance and classify governance mechanisms in three dimensions: value creation, coordination of players, and organizational openness and control. Additionally, we propose a research agenda that addresses relevant topics for researchers and practitioners to explore these issues. Initially, we performed a systematic literature review of 63 primary studies. In this extended article, we have included more 26 studies to analyze the relation between health and governance. In total, we reviewed 89 studies. 52 metrics were identified and classified into the three health elements (productivity, robustness, niche creation). Our results suggest that software ecosystems governance determines decision rights between platform owners and extension developers, control mechanisms used by the platform owner, and platform ownership. We posit that ecosystem health is under the direct influence of how governance mechanisms are implemented by ecosystem’s players.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnterprise Information Systems - 19th International Conference, ICEIS 2017, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsMichal Smialek, Slimane Hammoudi, Olivier Camp, Joaquim Filipe
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9783319933740
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event19th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems, ICEIS 2017 - Porto, Portugal
Duration: 26 Apr 201729 Apr 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Business Information Processing
ISSN (Print)1865-1348


Conference19th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems, ICEIS 2017


  • Governance
  • Health
  • Software ecosystems
  • Systematic literature review


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