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Sharing at social distance: “clay-footed giants” coping strategies for navigating the pandemic

Cecilia Grieco (Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 3 June 2022

Issue publication date: 8 February 2023




The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has led in a very short time to a worldwide pandemic that has had severe effects on both businesses and daily lives. In a scenario characterised by the social distancing imperative, the sharing economy found itself struggling to survive, deprived of its core asset, namely, peer (human) relationships. The purpose of this paper is to reveal the coping strategies that have been implemented by sharing economy platforms to navigate the pandemic.


An explorative empirical investigation of 20 sharing economy platforms was carried out during the first lockdown phase (March–June 2020). To drive the analysis, a theoretical framework was developed by merging the literature on the business model and crisis management strategies.


The answers provided by sharing economy platforms to the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been classified into nine typologies of intervention according to the developed framework, with illustrative examples.


This paper provides an empirical investigation into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sharing economy field and it offers evidence about the immediate reactions of sharing platforms to the health crisis effects. The paper also introduces a framework about business model and crisis management strategies as a conceptual tool that could be adopted by firms from other industries.



Funding: Not applicable

Availability of data and material: Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study

Code availability: Not applicable.

Authors' contributions: The entire work has been carried out by the author alone.

Conflict of interest: Not applicable.


Grieco, C. (2023), "Sharing at social distance: “clay-footed giants” coping strategies for navigating the pandemic", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 128-147.



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