6 The Rise of the Sharing Economy
platforms such as DogVacay to ensure that their friends are being cared for
well. These examples present a small sample of current ventures that fall with-
in the collaborative consumption-based sharing economy. While this account
focuses on the user, the propagation of such options and the estimated growth
projections of collaborative consumption-based initiatives indicate that, in-
creasingly, consumers are opting to participate in this economy as producers,
users, and perhaps both.
Despite its popularity, the state of the sharing economy is somewhat messy.
Some, such as consumers who now have more convenient and perhaps more
wallet-friendly options, and individual service providers that now have the
opportunity to leverage their underutilized resources to earn additional in-
come, benefit. Yet others, for example those in established industries such as
employees of taxicab companies with whom sharing economy–based ventures
such as Uber and Lyft compete, are negatively affected as their industry’s com-
petitive position is challenged by, and struggle to adapt to, the presence of
these innovative businesses (see Chapter 12 by Ranchordás for an overview of
tensions among sharing economy providers, public policy, and regulations).
With this said, the reality is likely to be as clear-cut. Intuitively, as partaking in
collaborative consumption-based offerings largely entail P2P transactions fa-
cilitated through a collaborative consumption platform that is somewhat re-
moved, in certain instances, relative to established businesses, consumers may
assume additional risks in engaging these services. In addition, service provid-
ers may be exploited, for instance, because the service facilitation companies
or platforms retain a portion of the transaction fee. Therefore, while this space
has developed tremendously, it is not without concerns. It comprises many
forms of organizational models ranging from for-profits valued in the billions
to nonprofits seeking ways to maintain their services, and the for-profits
themselves are diverse in form and the extent to which they participate in the
sharing experiences. Thus, while some laud the benefits of the sharing econo-
my in terms of additional service options, convenience, additional income
streams, and sustainability, others note that it simply encourages more con-
sumption, forces providers and consumers to assume more risks, and ulti-
mately exploits them. This compilation of writings is helpful in unpacking
this space.
This book draws together the works of multiple researchers whose writings
reflect different historical, national, and organizational contexts. For example,
Findlay (Chapter 2) discusses how organizations in the sharing economy can
learn from the experiences of cooperatives to avoid certain pitfalls including
corporatizing pressures, while Lamberton (Chapter 10) examines how com-
mercial sharing systems can be viable in current maturing marketplaces. The
reader will note that the various authors’ understanding of the sharing econo-
my and collaborative consumption differs from one another. While some may
take issue, this adds to the strength of the compilation because it provides
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