Research project on digital platforms in the sharing economy

Which opportunities do cooperative models and blockchain technology offer to the sharing economy? In the inter- and transdiciplinary junior research group platforms2share we want to answer this question.

Today, new digital platforms for sharing, swapping and other ways of collaborative consumption are widely associated with positive economic, ecological and social effects. At the same time, existing platforms like Airbnb and Uber are increasingly criticized in public debate for having negative effects on people, local economies and our planet. As a counter model, new decentral models combining alternative organizational forms (such as platform cooperatives) and new technologies (such as Blockchain technology) are discussed and tested. The promise to better reach social-ecological goals and offer potential transform the sharing and platform economy.

Learn more about the research project.
Get to know the team and partners.


In their exploratory study, the platforms2share researchers find that sharing organizations receive attention, resources and legitimation from a „disruptive field“ of organizations including tech-media and venture capitalists – a field that initiates and support technological innovation which potentially disrupt existing fields and industries. So far, the field pays attention to dominant models in the sharing economy such as Airbnb or Uber. The authors published the chapter in the renowned series „Research in the Sociology of Organizations“.
Venture capital allows start-ups to grow their business significantly and gives investors the chance to participate from the growth of a company from an early stage onward. For platform cooperatives however, equity capital raises a major concern: control over the company is transferred to investors, which interferes with the democratic processes of a cooperative Redeemable preference shares though, are a financial instrument which have equity characteristics and allow cooperatives to stay independent. (Deutschsprachige Version unten)
Nachbarschaftshilfeplattformen sind in Zeiten des Coronavirus ein hilfreiches Instrument, um Hilfesuchende und Hilfegebende zu vernetzen. Die Plattformen koordinieren Angebot und Nachfrage und sorgen dafür, dass Vertrauen zwischen Suchenden und Anbietenden geschaffen wird. (English Version below).
Sustainable investing is rapidly increasing in popularity shifting investors’ focus towards additional investment criteria next to financial returns. This paradigm shift could also bene-fit platform cooperatives as new financing opportunities open up. Platform cooperatives like Fairbnb strongly promote sustainability and social values and therefore fit ESG invest-ment criteria, but even better suit socially responsible investing approaches. (Deutsche Version im Blogpost enthalten)


Universität Mannheim
10:00 AM-5:00 PM
Universität Mannheim
9:00 AM-2:00 PM
Barcelona, Spain

Contact persons at platforms2share

Project Description
How is the sharing economy field structured? Dominika Wruk, Tino Schöllhorn and Achim Oberg address this question in their current publication
Research Team and Partners
Santje Kludas
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Plattformen für Nachbarschaftshilfe bündeln Solidarität in Zeiten der Covid-19 Pandemie
Redeemable preference shares: the equity instrument that allows co-operatives to stay independent
How Platform Cooperatives fit the Landscape of ESG and Socially Responsible Investing
Prof. Dr. Dominika Wruk