Student Theses and Projects: Government-as-a-Platform: Contextualization of digital platforms in the public sector

Thesis (MA/Guided Research) - Reference number 2020-230

Advisor: Lukas Daßler / Andreas Hein


The rapid development and increasing dissemination of digital technologies has exposed modern companies to a highly dynamic, networked business environment. This digital transformation is transforming markets, value chains and relationships, with the collection and use of data playing an increasingly important role. Digital platforms and ecosystems in particular have radically changed our everyday lives (Porter & Heppelmann, 2014). While digitalization initially changed primarily the business world and consumer behavior of people, it has now also fundamentally changed the public sector. At the latest with the Online Access Act, the portal network, and the demand for more user- and citizen-centricity (e.g. through the once-only principle and data sovereignty), digitization has been heralded in the broad public sector in Germany (BMWi, 2018; 2019).

This research project aims to contextualize and extend established scientific knowledge about the design and governance of digital platforms and their ecosystems for the public sector. A possible way to solve this problem is to conduct qualitative interviews with experts for the implementation of digital platforms in the public sector and with those responsible for the provision of e-government services.  Based on those interviews, we can contextualize and expand the established knowledge about design and governance of platforms in the public sector and provide novel insights into the mechanisms and processes of e-government digital platform ecosystem. Therefore, key aspects of the business platform ecosystem such as openness, value cocreation and the role of a multi-sided market need to be transferred and adapted to the public sector.

Examples of such platform projects in practice are the implementation of national administration platforms and the enforcement of the once-only principle, which aims to ensure that citizens and businesses only have to report basic information once (BMWi, 2018). Another important example are the citizens' portals (e.g., BayernPortal) and the introduction of one-stop or no-stop shops, where services are to be bundled and ultimately offered proactively and, in an application-free manner (Scholta, et al., 2019).


  • Synthesis and contrasting of literature on the design and governance of digital platforms in business and the public sector
  • Qualitative interviews to contextualize and expand the established knowledge about design and governance of digital platforms in the public sector
  • Discussion of the results regarding current research
  • Active refinement and development of the research idea


  • A high degree of autonomy and individual responsibility
  • Interest in current topics of digital transformation, platform ecosystems and e-government
  • Interest and experience in qualitative research
  • Very good grades and a good command of the English language are beneficial


The topic can be adapted according to your interests. The thesis can be written in English or German. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact me directly. Please send your application, including our application form, "Notenauszug" from TUMonline, and CV to Please note that we can only consider applications with complete documents.

Announcement date: 21.08.2020


Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie [BMWi]. (2018). Der Staat als Digitalisierungsplattform: Once Only 2.0. Digital Gipfel 2018, Nürnberg.

Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie [BMWi]. (2019). Verwaltungsplattform als Ökosystem für Interaktion und Datensouveränität. Digital Gipfel 2019, Dortmund.

Porter, M. E., & Heppelmann, J. E. (2014). How smart, connected products are transforming competition. Harvard Business Review, 92(11), 11–64.

Scholta, H., Mertens, W., Kowalkiewicz, M., & Becker, J. (2019). From one-stop shop to no-stop shop: An e-government stage model. Government Information Quarterly, 36, 11-26.