Disruptive and paradoxical roles in the sharing economies

Öberg, C. (In press). Disruptive and paradoxical roles in the sharing economies. International Journal of Innovation Management.


The sharing economy could be said to disrupt who does what in exchanges. This paper categorises the roles played by users, providers, and platforms in different interpretations of the sharing economy. It asks: What different roles do the users, providers, and platforms play in the sharing economy? And: How do the roles differ in various interpretations of the sharing economy? The paper classifies the different interpretations based on their market/non-market logic and concludes that roles are more extensive for users and providers in non-market logic interpretations, while market logic suggests that the platform acts more roles. The user is, despite the peer-to-peer connotation of the sharing economy, often quite passive. Contributions are made to the emerging literature on the sharing economy through highlighting its many different interpretations, where roles help to systematise these. The paper furthermore contributes to the literature on roles through highlighting them as transitory and expanding beyond expectations related to digitalisation. Practically, the systematisation of roles helps to navigate among various business model designs and makes informed decisions when launching platforms in the sharing economy. Additionally, the focus on roles raises important questions on risk sharing, resource provisions, and the creation of value for each participating party.