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Is the Sharing Economy a Field? How a Disruptive Field Nurtures Sharing Economy Organizations

Theorizing the Sharing Economy: Variety and Trajectories of New Forms of Organizing

ISBN: 978-1-78756-180-9, eISBN: 978-1-78756-179-3

ISSN: 0733-558X

Publication date: 10 April 2020

Abstract

Is the sharing economy a field? Answering this question is crucial to understanding how sharing organizations look and behave, as well as how the sharing economy might develop. In this chapter, the authors applied two different field conceptions – organizational field and issue field – as a starting point for an explorative empirical analysis. To capture both field concepts, the authors collected relational data and data on organizations’ self-representations to see how organizations engaged in the debate on the sharing economy relate to each other. The observed network of organizations suggests that the sharing economy is an issue field. In addition, the core of this network shows the relational structure of an organizational field. Surprisingly, it is not an organizational field of the sharing economy. Instead, it is a field of organizations heavily engaged in proselytizing new organizational forms that will change other fields. What the authors observed is a new field configuration – the authors call it a disruptive field – that is, less inward-oriented than other fields but much more engaged in changing other fields’ structures and dynamics. With these insights, the authors contribute to institutional research on field configuration and shed light on the phenomenon of the sharing economy and its potential development.

Keywords

Citation

Wruk, D., Schöllhorn, T. and Oberg, A. (2020), "Is the Sharing Economy a Field? How a Disruptive Field Nurtures Sharing Economy Organizations", Maurer, I., Mair, J. and Oberg, A. (Ed.) Theorizing the Sharing Economy: Variety and Trajectories of New Forms of Organizing (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 66), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 131-162. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X20200000066007

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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