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Sharing economy: seeing through the fog

Daniel Trabucchi (School of Management, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Laurent Muzellec (Trinity Business School, Centre for Digital Business, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Sébastien Ronteau (Audencia Business School, Nantes, France)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 4 April 2019

Issue publication date: 19 September 2019




The purpose of this paper is to delineate the current state of the art of sharing economy (SE) research and practice. It provides a new framework to help managers and academics to consider this field with the right managerial and theoretical lenses.


A systematic literature on the SE was conducted, resulting in the analysis of 114 articles in the management literature. This was completed by the empirical investigations of business model and industry of 32 members of three national associations promoting SE: SE UK, Ireland and Denmark.


Papers dealing with SE themes focus on consumers’ motivations, impact on the society, market and policy, as well as the revenue model. SE businesses can be differentiated depending on whether their assets are new or re-used and the transaction is permanent or temporary. Based on this matrix, the study reveals four archetypes of SE businesses: “on-demand renters,” “lifecycle extenders,” “seller aggregators” and “ephemeral matchmakers.”

Research limitations/implications

The paper outlines a significant gap between what is current focus of the academic literature and the reality of SE purposes and businesses. This provides goals for future research.

Practical implications

The framework and clustering of business model archetypes may help managers and entrepreneurs dealing with SE to better understand the underlying value drivers behind those business models.


There are some discrepancies between the SE themes emerging from the management literature and the business model diversity of SE companies. This research aims at helping scholars and managers to position themselves in the field.



Trabucchi, D., Muzellec, L. and Ronteau, S. (2019), "Sharing economy: seeing through the fog", Internet Research, Vol. 29 No. 5, pp. 996-1013.



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