Exploring the Sharing Economy

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Exploring the Sharing Economy

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Titel: Exploring the Sharing Economy
Forfatter: Netter, Sarah
Resume: Despite the growing interest on the part of proponents and opponents - ranging from business, civil society, media, to policy-makers alike - there is still limited knowledge about the working mechanisms of the sharing economy. The thesis is dedicated to explore this understudied phenomenon and to provide a more nuanced understanding of the micro- and macro-level tensions that characterize the sharing economy. This thesis consists of four research papers, each using different literature, methodology, and data sets. The first paper investigates how the sharing economy is diffused and is ‘talked into existence’ by the communicative acts of a number of different actors. The second paper looks at how the reality of these narratives is actually experienced by the representatives of one type of sharing platform, i.e., fashion libraries. The third paper further expands the understanding of micro-level tensions experience by sharing platforms by looking at the case of mobile fashion reselling and swapping markets. The final paper combines the perspectives of different sharing economy stakeholders and outlines some of the micro and macro tensions arising in and influencing the organization of these multi-sided markets. Presently, the future of the sharing economy is rather uncertain, in part due to its conceptual ambiguity and lack of independent empirical research. This thesis concludes that the fate of the sharing economy primarily depends on two factors. Firstly, it depends on the ability of stakeholders to resolve tensions and arrive at a more nuanced and less normative discourse - one that will largely inform the ways in which sharing initiatives can be supported and regulated. Secondly, it depends on the ability of policy-makers and sharing initiatives to shift consumer mindsets from ownership to access in order to increase the adoption of these new consumption practices, while simultaneously reducing overall consumption levels and contributing to sustainable development.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/9397
Dato: 2016-12-01

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