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Regulating the Sharing Economy: A Field Perspective

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

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

Publication date: 10 April 2020


Critics increasingly highlight the dark sides of the sharing economy resulting from the insufficient regulation of competition, labor, or taxes in its for-profit sector. In this chapter, the authors argue that regulatory solutions for the sharing economy hinge on the understanding of the ways in which the sharing economy is organized. Here, digitalization undermines established regulation through underlying organizational shifts pertaining to places, labor inputs and output responsibilities. Mapping out the field of actors that are or could be involved in regulating the sharing economy, the authors highlight a particular role played not only by digital platforms as market organizers, but also of a variety of other public and private actors such as standard setting organizations, social movements, trade unions, organized buyers and sellers, incumbents, or policy makers. The authors suggest that an understanding of sharing economy markets as fields can not only capture the highly organized nature of the sharing economy, but also serve to untangle the contestations and power dynamics unfolding among various actors engaged in different regulatory issues associated with the sharing economy. Seeing “Uberization” as a next development stage away from the modern corporation after global supply chains, the authors highlight regulatory challenges associated with the even more individualized and dispersed way in which sharing economy markets are organized and also discuss new opportunities for regulation provided by digital technology.



Kirchner, S. and Schüßler, E. (2020), "Regulating the Sharing Economy: A Field Perspective", 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, Leeds, pp. 215-236.



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