The Rise of the Sharing Economy as a Process of Institutional Entrepreneurship
Arnoud van Waes
Sharing platforms have raised controversy, in particular, because they claim that existing regulations in the markets they operate in, do not apply to sharing platforms and their participants. Hence, the platforms' institutional strategy is to try to avoid the institutional logic of states (product regulation) and professions (licences, diplomas). Instead, platforms frame their business as belonging either to the new institutional logic of "tech" and the older institutional logic of the family (that is, the private sphere). Drawing on the theory of institutional entrepreneurship (Battilana et al., 2009, The Academy of Management Annals 3), this paper investigates these strategies for five platforms in The Netherlands (SnappCar, Airbnb, UberPop, Airdnd, Helpling), and explains why these strategies increasingly differ from one another and why all, so far, have been quite successful. We will also discuss some implications for possible regulations in the near future, in particular, discussing the pros and cons of granting platforms a "Right to Challenge".