We are currently witnessing a new wave of the digital economy. A prime example is the sharing economy where an organization operates a platform for its online community, the sum of individuals who interact to exchange goods and services. The sharing economy blurs several boundaries of economic life – a fact that extant theory on platform organizing has yet paid little attention. We argue to consider two aspects of the sharing economy and revisit related theory to address this lacuna. First, we revive the concept of hybrid community to denote a variant of an online community that mirrors the boundary-blurring nature of the sharing economy. In a hybrid community, individuals interact both online and offline (instead of only online) and consume as well as produce. Second, we revisit the range of strategic responses suggested by extant literature to minimize the dependence of a platform organization on its hybrid community and show that the sharing economy requires management research to adapt and potentially recast existing claims.
This research was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Grant Number 01UT1408C, Research Project i-share).
Reischauer, G. and Mair, J. (2018), "Platform Organizing in the New Digital Economy: Revisiting Online Communities and Strategic Responses", Toward Permeable Boundaries of Organizations? (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 57), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 113-135. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X20180000057005
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