Collaborative innovation in the sharing economy

Kaveh Abhari (Fowler College of Business, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA)
Elizabeth J. Davidson (Shidler College of Business, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)
Bo Xiao (Shidler College of Business, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Publication date: 7 October 2019



With the emergence of the sharing economy paradigm, the process of innovation is no longer unidirectional, but cyclical. This paradigm shift requires a better understanding of social actors to fully leverage the promise of co-innovation in the sharing economy. To this end, the purpose of this paper is to develop a classification model to profile social actors based on their motivation to participate in different co-innovation activities.


A preliminary case study was first conducted to identify actors’ motivations to continuously participate in co-innovation activities. Next, a survey was administrated to validate the measurement model and then a discriminant analysis was run on a sample of 244 actors to classify actors based on their willingness to participate in three forms of co-innovation activities. Lastly, the resultant classifiers were cross-validated.


The results indicate that financial gains, entrepreneurship and learning are significant predictors of ideation (sharing new ideas). Enjoyment and learning are strong indicators of collaboration (sharing knowledge or experience), whereas networking, enjoyment, and altruism are most strongly related to socialization (sharing network and connections). These findings highlight three classes of social actors – ideators, collaborators and networkers – based on motivational differences.


Co-innovation among individual inventors is an understudied aspect of the sharing economy. This study provides a theoretically parsimonious classification model to profile social actors, predict the sharing activities in co-innovation networks, and highlight the importance of platform design to appeal to different classes of potential contributors in collaborative innovation.



Abhari, K., Davidson, E. and Xiao, B. (2019), "Collaborative innovation in the sharing economy", Internet Research, Vol. 29 No. 5, pp. 1014-1039.

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