Sorting things out: A typology of the digital collaborative economy

Lene Pettersen


Current research on the sharing or collaborative economy has by large adopted a user-centric approach, and studies at the meso-level (firm/organization level) have received little attention and is called for both in the literature and by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This paper contributes to the meso-level by presenting a framework — a typology — based on the literature and an analysis of 54 services in the collaborative economy (e.g., Airbnb, Uber, and Blablacars). The paper suggest that when classifying sharing services, we need to direct our analytical lens to dimensions from the organization and strategy literature, such as two-sided business models and organizing principles, network effects and value, and other strategic dimensions. A definition of the collaborative economy that includes these dimensions is proposed, which is helpful for regulators, start-ups, and for researchers in avoiding research flaws.


sharing economy; collaborative economy; typology; two-sided business model; network value.

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