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Christopher Grieser


Hardenbergstr. 16-18
10623 Berlin
Room: HBS 128

Phone: +49 30 314 27378
Email: christopher.grieser [at] tu-berlin.de



Platform-Governance and the Compatibility-Innovation-Dilemma 

The present research on platforms basically consists of two bodies of research: On the one hand, platforms are seen as technical infrastructures that provide core functionality for complimentary products, e.g. a mobile operating system providing camera functionality for a wide range of apps. On the other hand, platforms are seen as digital marketplaces that are controlled by private firms, e.g. the App Store where the platform operator controls which developers get access and how the apps are ranked. In my PhD-project, I will theoretically integrate those two platform concepts by conceptualizing platforms as organized marketplaces centered around a certain technical infrastructure where both market and infrastructure are in the control of one entity. This perspective allows relating insights from research on software platforms with research on gig economy or dating platforms, as all three are seen as specific subtypes of platforms only with a different degree to which the infrastructure or the market organization is relevant (see the following graph).

The central research question of my PhD-project is how the specific governance of digital platforms, which consists of a privately regulated market as well as governance through a technological infrastructure, enables the technical innovations on those platforms. Basically, there is an interdependence between platform and app: you cannot innovate the platform without considering the apps and you cannot improve an app without considering the platform. Theoretically, this technological interdependence results in a high incentive not to innovate any of them as platform providers, as well as app developers are interested in maintaining compatibility. In practice, however, platforms and apps have very short and frequent update cycles. My central research hypothesis is that the idiosyncratic characteristics of the governance of digital platforms enable the various actors in the field to overcome the theoretical stalemate situation. To investigate the mechanisms through which platforms and apps coordinate with each other, I conduct qualitative interviews with app developers, CTOs, and computer scientists as well as extensive document analyses of several types of field documents.

Illustration PhD-project

Curriculum Vitae

since 2019 -
Research and Teaching Associate at the Chair for Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Technical University of Berlin (Prof. Jochen Gläser)
2018 - 2019
Research Fellow at the DFG Graduate School „Innovation Society Today: The Reflexive Creation of Novelty“ Department of Sociology, Technical University of Berlin
2014 - 2018
M.A. Sociology and Technology Studies, Technical University of Berlin
2015 - 2018
Student Research and Teaching Assistant at Chair „Methods of Social Research“ at the Technical University of Berlin (Prof. Nina Baur)
Stay abroad at the University of California, Berkeley (USA)
Associate Editor at Eleven, „Undergraduate Journal of Sociology“ at the University of California, Berkeley (USA)
2013 - 2015
Student Research Assistant at the Innovation Centre for Mobility and Societal Change (InnoZ) in Berlin
2011 - 2014
B.A. Sociology and Technology Studies, Technical University of Berlin
(Minor Subject: Computer Science)
2009 - 2010
Communication Science and Philosophy at the University of Erfurt

Areas of Research

  • Digital Economy Research
  • Sociology of Technology & Innovation
  • Science Studies
  • Qualitative Methods


  • Grieser, C. (2021, i.E.). Plattformen als infrastrukturzentrierte Märkte. Illustration eines integrierten Plattformbegriffes am Beispiel von Solo-Selbstständigkeit auf digitalen Plattformen. [Platforms as infrastructure-centered markets. Illustration of an integrated conception of Platforms using the example of the Self-Employment.] Gesellschaft Unter Spannung. Verhandlungen des 40. Kongresses Der Deutschen Gesellschaft Für Soziologie 2020.
  • Grieser, C., & Egbert, S. (2020). Algorithmen als automatisierte Ranglisten. Potenziale der Soziologie der Quantifizierung für die Digitalisierungsforschung. [Algorithms as automated rankings. Potentials of the sociology of Quantification for Digitalization Research.] SoS Discussion Paper 3/2020. (online)
  • Grieser, C. & Egbert, S. (2020). Algorithmen = Rankings + x? Impulse der Soziologie der Quantifizierung für die Digitalisierungsforschung. Konferenzpapier, 3. Tagung des Arbeitskreises Digitalisierung & Organisation an der TU Berlin (online)
  • Grieser, C. (2019). The Problem of Collecting Data on Mid-Sized Complete Networks (50 < n < 200) via Questionnaire: A Proposition for Using Subgroup-Based Name Generators. Working Paper, Berlin. Retrieved from https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/handle/document/61650
  • Gläser, J., Laudel, G., Grieser, C., & Meyer, U. (2018). Scientific Fields as Epistemic Regimes: New Opportunities for Comparative Science Studies. Working Paper TUTS-WP-3-2018, TU Berlin. (online)
  • Deisner, J. & Grieser, C. (2018). The Relationship between Openness and Closedness in the FabLab. A Differentiated Typology of Possible Relations between Institutional Logics. In: J. Engelschalt, F. Engels, & A. Maibaum (Hrsg.), Schafft Wissen – Gemeinsames und geteiltes Wissen in Wissenschaft und Technik. Proceedings der 2. Tagung des Nachwuchsnetzwerks "INSIST". München: SSOAR. (online)


  • "Innovation As Keeping up: How the Necessity to Maintain Compatibility for Interdependent Technologies Fuels the Innovation Imperative" at the 4th ISA Forum, RC23, "273 - The Innovation Imperative", 24th February 2021.
  • „Plattformen als Infrastruktur-Dienstleister für Selbstständige“ [Platforms as Infrastructure-Provider for the self-employed] at the national congress of the German Sociological Association 2020, 21. September 2020 
  • „Algorithmen = Rankings + x? Impulse der Soziologie der Quantifizierung für die Digitalisierungsforschung“ [Algorithms = Rankings + x? Ideas from the Sociology of Quantification for the Research on Digitalization] beim 3. Workshop des AK „Digitalisierung und Organisation“ am 6. März 2020 in Berlin (together with Simon Egbert) 
  • „Dependence on the Industry that Simultaneously Restricts and Enables Knowledge Exchange in a Scientific Community. The Case of German Automotive Engineering“ at the International Workshop „Independence of Research“, 15. November 2018 in Berlin
  • „The Subgroup-Based Recall. A Proposition for Collecting Data on Mid-Sized Intraorganizational Networks (30 < n < 150) via Questionnaire“, at the 2. Workshop of the Working Group Organizational Network Research, 27. September 2018 in Jena
  • „Scientific fields as epistemic regimes; new opportunities for comparative science studies“ at the Workshop „Regimes of knowledge production“, 08. June 2018 in Berlin (together with Jochen Gläser, Grit Laudel, and Uli Meyer)
  • „FabLabs als Produktionsstätten zwischen Offenheit und Geschlossenheit“ [FabLabs as Production spaces between Openness and Closedness] at the INSIST-Conference „Schafft Wissen“ at the Panel „Wissen in Labs“, 7. October 2016 in Munich (together with Jana Deisner) 
  • „Womit beschäftigt sich eigentlich die Wissenschaftstheorie der Sozialwissenschaften? Ein Versuch der Kartografierung des ‘Bermuda-Dreiecks’ zwischen Wissenschaftsphilosophie, Sozialtheorie und Methodologie“ [What does the Philosophy of Social Sciences do? An Attempt to map the Bermuda-Triangle between philosophy of science, social theory and methodology] in the Colloquium for Methods of Social Research, 25. May 2016 in Berlin


  • The Digital Economy from a social scientific perspective (winter 19/20)
  • Reading: Laboratory Life. The Construction of Scientific Facts (winter 19/20)
  • Digitalization of Science (summer 20)
  • Indicators, Statistics, and Rankings: The Quantification of Science (summer 20)


  • German Sociological Association (DGS) 
  • Section Economic Sociology of the German Sociological Association (DGS)
  • Section Organizational Sociology of the German Sociological Association (DGS)
  • Section Study of Science and Technology of the German Sociological Association (DGS)

Scholarships and Grants

  • 2014 - 2017: Scholarship by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation
  • 2016 - 2017: e-fellows Scholarship
  • 2016: Scholarship for Academic Training and Education abroad by the Technical University of Berlin
  • 2016: Scholarship for Academic Training and Education abroad by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation

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