There has been an increasing interest in the emerging sharing economy phenomenon. Enabled by digital platform technologies, the sharing economy allows households, individuals, businesses, government and non-government organisations to engage in collaborative production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. To no small degree, the interest in the sharing economy is fueled by ongoing international media stories about the expansion of new and highly successful sharing economy platforms (such as Uber, Airbnb, Taskrabbit, Blablacar, etc.), and the disruption caused by them for established businesses, regulations, and behavior of individuals.
There are indeed a wide a range of economic, social, and environmental implications of the sharing economy, which underpin the public and business interest in this topic. The sharing economy can potentially lead to an increase in employment, economic efficiency, sustainable use of resources, broadened access to highly valuable assets, and enhanced social relationships. It can also give rise to innovation driven business models appealing to a different group of customers, normally ignored by mainstream businesses, and based on a novel supply chain and operations model which makes it possible to outsource to customers a significant portion of conventional business functions related to management and maintenance of assets, customer service and marketing. These inevitably challenge conventional business and policy thinking about the role and functions of customers, employees and the organisation.
The academic debate is yet to fully catch up with the business media discourse about the sharing economy. It has only now started to critically investigate the popular claims about the sharing economy. There is still very little systematic understanding of the antecedents of the sharing economy, its organizational forms and their novelty, the enabling and constraining factors of the sharing economy and its impacts. Hence, the purpose of this workshop is to engage with different strands of academic scholarship on the sharing economy originating across different disciplines (such as management and business studies, economics, geography, legal studies, sociology, political sciences and other disciplines) to help to develop an integrated understanding of the sharing economy phenomenon, its drivers, forms and implications for individuals, businesses and society.