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Platform Economics: Rhetoric and Reality in the ‘Sharing Economy’
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-809-5

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Article
Publication date: 21 February 2020

Mayya Shmidt

The objective of this contribution is to pinpoint the practices of users' interactions with sharing economy platforms in Russia, as well as explore the source of…

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this contribution is to pinpoint the practices of users' interactions with sharing economy platforms in Russia, as well as explore the source of motivation to use such platforms on the three cases of sharing economy platforms in Russia: Darudar [Gift-to-gift] (sharing goods), Bank Vremeny [Timebank] (sharing time and services) and Couchsurfing (sharing accommodation and leisure).

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical data were gathered from 25 in-depth interviews conducted for active users of the platforms and ethnographic observations of users' offline meetings as well as digital observations.

Findings

The results reveal that participants of the platforms tend to establish their own rules and norms of interaction, thus, fostering social connection. Findings suggest that users of sharing economy platforms are driven by the potential of minimising transaction costs and intrinsic motivation, such as getting experiences which have no market alternatives, upcycling and disposal of belongings, self-promotion and self-realisation.

Original/value

In this study, sharing as based in the sharing economy is conceptualised as a separate principle of resource allocation. The theory was applied to the empirical material of three Russian platforms, which has not been done previously in the paradigm of sharing. The current literature on the sharing economy is largely switched to the for-profit North American platforms, while case studies from other settings are lacking. This article aims to fill this gap by providing insights into non-profit platforms' operation in Russia.

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Information Technology & People, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2020

Laura Michelini, Cecilia Grieco, Francesca Ciulli and Alessio Di Leo

The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential impact of food sharing platform business models and to identify the limits and barriers in measuring the impact…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential impact of food sharing platform business models and to identify the limits and barriers in measuring the impact. Using the “theory of change” (ToC) approach, this paper develops a theoretical framework that captures the activities, outputs and outcomes of food sharing platforms and links them to indicators.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs a two-step methodology, which includes a website content analysis followed by two focus groups. The purpose of the website content analysis was to list a set of activities that are performed by food sharing platforms. The focus groups allow to design the ToC and to discuss limits and barriers in measuring the impact of food sharing platforms.

Findings

The study provides an overview of the main areas of impact of food sharing platforms (environmental, social, economic and political) and identifies the related outcomes. Furthermore, the paper highlights the need for the platform to manage the multifaceted tensions of food waste recovery vs prevention and the benefits of food recovery to helping hungry people vs the actual need to eradicate poverty by addressing social injustices and inequalities.

Research limitations/implications

The selected sample involved in the focus group comprised a wide but not comprehensive set of stakeholders. Indeed, the obtained information cannot be generalized. In addition, the ToC approach requires a certain discretion of the facilitator and introduces the potential for partiality in conducting the analysis.

Practical implications

The framework helps to unbundle the complex challenge of measuring the impact of food sharing platforms and it provides managers, practitioners and policy makers with a practical tool to direct their activities toward a better impact.

Originality/value

From a theoretical perspective the study advances the literature on (food) sharing platforms and contributes to research on the sustainability in the food sector. It indicates the impacts a novel actor relying on digital technology can have in the food sector and points out the tensions between food recovery and prevention and the impact on poverty. The proposed framework could be a useful tool to support practitioners in understanding the trade-offs among the outcomes they aim to attain, and to identify the proper strategies to manage them.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 122 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2008

Erik L. Olson

The paper seeks to examine empirically the potential dilution and enhancement of brands that share product platforms with other brands.

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to examine empirically the potential dilution and enhancement of brands that share product platforms with other brands.

Design/methodology/approach

Study 1 uses two real platformsharing examples from the automobile and consumer electronics industries in an experimental setting. Study 2 uses conjoint analysis in the same two industries to study the impact of platformsharing on preference and willingness to pay for a unique brand.

Findings

Study 1 finds that sharing a platform with an upscale brand is preferable to sharing with a downscale brand, although results are mixed on whether a unique‐to‐brand platform is preferred to sharing with an upscale brand. Study 2 finds that unique‐to‐brand platforms are preferred to any type of platform sharing, and calculates that this preference is worth about 6‐10 per cent of the product's retail price.

Research limitations/implications

Both studies use student samples, although all product classes and brands tested are popular with this demographic, which is a key target market for the tested industries.

Practical implications

Platform sharing is an increasingly popular product development strategy that offers great cost savings in product design, manufacturing and servicing. The findings suggest that managers also need to carefully consider the potential cost to a brand's equity when calculating the financial implications of platform sharing.

Originality/value

This paper brings together two areas that are usually not studied together, i.e. product development and brand equity management, and finds that choices made in the former can have important implications for the latter.

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Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 29 May 2009

Erik L. Olson

This paper aims to empirically examine the brand impact of intra‐brand platform sharing.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to empirically examine the brand impact of intra‐brand platform sharing.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses two real platformsharing examples from the automobile and consumer electronics industries in an experimental setting.

Findings

The study finds that intra‐brand platform sharing caused no damage to brand equity in either setting.

Research limitations/implications

The study uses a student sample, although all product classes and brands tested are popular with this demographic which is a key target market for the tested industries. The study also tests intra‐brand platform sharing where the price differences are 20 percent between higher and lower level platform applications, and the findings may not hold for larger price gaps.

Practical implications

Platform sharing has been shown to damage brand equity in inter‐brand applications, but the current findings suggest that intra‐brand platform sharing is safe for the brand, and allows managers to also benefit from the cost savings in product design, manufacturing and servicing that have made the technique popular.

Originality/value

The paper builds on earlier platformsharing research and shows where the technique can be safely practised from the standpoint of protecting brand equity.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2019

Jochen Wirtz, Kevin Kam Fung So, Makarand Amrish Mody, Stephanie Q. Liu and HaeEun Helen Chun

The purpose of this paper is to examine peer-to-peer sharing platform business models, their sources of competitive advantage, and the roles, motivations and behaviors of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine peer-to-peer sharing platform business models, their sources of competitive advantage, and the roles, motivations and behaviors of key actors in their ecosystems.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses a conceptual approach that is rooted in the service, tourism and hospitality, and strategy literature.

Findings

First, this paper defines key types of platform business models in the sharing economy anddescribes their characteristics. In particular, the authors propose the differentiation between sharing platforms of capacity-constrained vs capacity-unconstrained assets and advance five core properties of the former. Second, the authors contrast platform business models with their pipeline business model counterparts to understand the fundamental differences between them. One important conclusion is that platforms cater to vastly more heterogeneous assets and consumer needs and, therefore, require liquidity and analytics for high-quality matching. Third, the authors examine the competitive position of platforms and conclude that their widely taken “winner takes it all” assumption is not valid. Primary network effects are less important once a critical level of liquidity has been reached and may even turn negative if increased listings raise friction in the form of search costs. Once a critical level of liquidity has been reached, a platform’s competitive position depends on stakeholder trust and service provider and user loyalty. Fourth, the authors integrate and synthesize the literature on key platform stakeholders of platform businesses (i.e. users, service providers, and regulators) and their roles and motivations. Finally, directions for further research are advanced.

Practical implications

This paper helps platform owners, service providers and users understand better the implications of sharing platform business models and how to position themselves in such ecosystems.

Originality/value

This paper integrates the extant literature on sharing platforms, takes a novel approach in delineating their key properties and dimensions, and provides insights into the evolving and dynamic forms of sharing platforms including converging business models.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Christoph F. Breidbach and Roderick J. Brodie

The purpose of this paper is to identify and delineate research directions that guide future empirical studies exploring how engagement platforms facilitate value…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and delineate research directions that guide future empirical studies exploring how engagement platforms facilitate value co-creation and actor engagement in the context of the sharing economy.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopt a midrange theorizing approach with service-dominant logic as the integrating meta-theoretical perspective to develop a theoretical framework about service platforms, engagement platforms, and actor engagement in information communication technology (ICT) mediated environments. The authors then contextualize the framework for the sharing economy.

Findings

The authors introduce 20 unique research questions to guide future studies related to service ecosystems, engagement platforms, and actor engagement practices in the context of the sharing economy.

Research limitations/implications

The sharing economy is an emerging phenomenon that is driven by the development and proliferation of engagement platforms. The engagement platform concept therefore provides a novel perspective for exploration of how ICT can be utilized to facilitate value co-creation and engagement amongst interdependent economic actors in a service ecosystem.

Practical implications

The purpose of this paper is to guide future academic research, rather than managerial practice. Future research based on the framework can help guide decision-makers to implement and use engagement platforms more effectively.

Originality/value

This paper offers new insight into the important intersection of ICT and service research, and guides future studies exploring the role of engagement platforms in the context of the sharing economy.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2018

Georg Reischauer and Johanna Mair

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…

Abstract

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.

Details

Toward Permeable Boundaries of Organizations?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-829-3

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Article
Publication date: 15 September 2020

Gemma Newlands and Christoph Lutz

The purpose of this study is to contribute to current hospitality and tourism research on the sharing economy by studying the under-researched aspects of regulatory…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to contribute to current hospitality and tourism research on the sharing economy by studying the under-researched aspects of regulatory desirability, moral legitimacy and fairness in the context of home-sharing platforms (e.g. Airbnb).

Design/methodology/approach

Three separate 2×1 between-subjects experimental vignette surveys are used to test the effects of three types of fairness (procedural, interpersonal and informational) on two outcomes: moral legitimacy and regulatory desirability.

Findings

The results of the research show that high perceived fairness across all three types increases moral legitimacy and reduces regulatory desirability. Respondents who perceive a fictional home-sharing platform to be fair consider it to be more legitimate and want it to be less regulated.

Research limitations/implications

Following established practices and reducing external validity, the study uses a fictional scenario and a fictional company for the experimental vignette. The data collection took place in the UK, prohibiting cultural comparisons.

Practical implications

The research is useful for home-sharing platform managers by showing how they can boost moral legitimacy and decrease regulatory desirability through a strong focus on fairness. It can also help policymakers and consumer protection advocates by providing evidence about regulatory desirability and how it is affected by fairness perceptions.

Originality/value

The study adds to hospitality and tourism research by offering theoretically meaningful and practically relevant conclusions about the importance of fairness in driving stakeholder opinions about home-sharing platforms.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 32 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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Article
Publication date: 28 July 2020

Goya Choi, Changi Nam, Seongcheol Kim, Hyun Ju Jung and Chul Ho Lee

In mobile platforms, an increasing number of third-party developers (developers) create new ideas and enhance their expertise through knowledge sharing on the developers…

Abstract

Purpose

In mobile platforms, an increasing number of third-party developers (developers) create new ideas and enhance their expertise through knowledge sharing on the developers’ community. Notwithstanding the importance of the sharing and its uniqueness on the mobile platform contexts, the motivational factors of sharing their knowledge on the community have been underinvestigated. Therefore, this paper aims to provide a comprehensive framework to enhance the knowledge sharing in the mobile platform context.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the theory of reasoned action, this paper incorporated intrinsic and internalized extrinsic motivations with two unique features of platform environments: platform open policies and coopetitive relationships. To test, an online survey was distributed to four developer communities in Korea, two Android and two iOS communities.

Findings

The results show that a platform pursuing higher openness causes the developers to find higher social pressure for information sharing. The coopetitive relationship with other developers in the same platform takes dissimilar roles; reciprocity significantly increases subjective norm, while rivalry does attitude. Self-efficacy and self-development stimulate knowledge sharing. Furthermore, multilevel analysis to capture the difference between two leading mobile platforms indicates no path difference but, interestingly, shows significant mean difference between the two platforms regarding perceived openness and rivalry.

Originality/value

With this paper, the authors fulfill the need to understand the knowledge-sharing intention of developers in the context of mobile platforms where developers can be potential competitors or cooperators and where two platforms offer different policies and developmental environments.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 24 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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