The International Workshop on the Sharing Economy (IWSE) is an annual interdisciplinary meeting, which launched in Utrecht in 2015 and was followed by further editions in Paris, Southhampton, Lund and Mannheim. This year’s workshop, the 6th edition, took place at the University of Utrecht between the 27th and 29th of June and was hosted by Martijn Arets, Rense Corten, Joyce Delnoij and Koen Frenken. Besides Jonas Pentzien and Clara Wolff, more than 110 participants from 23 different countries attended – most of them coming from a research background, complemented by policy makers and entrepreneurs who enriched the academic debates with insights from their practical experiences.
The workshop kicked-off with a public event titled “Towards an inclusive platform economy”, where José van Dijck, Peter Baeck and other scholars discussed the question of how to create a beneficial platform economy for all – especially focusing on the growing importance of digital platforms in more and more areas of everyday life.
Interesting presentations, lively debates and vivid coffee break discussions then characterized the following two days. Pinar Ozcan, Professor of Strategic Management at Warwick Business School, held an intriguing keynote about theory, methodology and pitfalls in doing research about the sharing economy. Ozcan not only shared results of her research, but also personal experiences with the difficulties and challenges she was confronted with during her research and her ways to handle them. A second keynote was held by Timm Teubner, Professor of Trust in Digital Services at TU Berlin, who presented an overview of his findings about how digital platforms are creating trust among peers and further research questions in this field.
Jonas Pentzien presented a theoretical framework that allows for conceptualizing and analyzing platform cooperativism as both a market transformation and a social movement. From this dual approach, he derived an understanding of the necessary conditions that platform cooperatives would need to fulfil in order to realize market transformation. Jonas Pentzien concluded his presentation by presenting preliminary results from several qualitative interviews he conducted with founders and members of platform cooperatives in both Germany and the US.
Clara Wolff presented an empirical approach to study platform competition in the food delivery industry. Network effects in the food delivery industry are mostly local, which leads to regionally confined platform competition. Clara Wolff developed a computational approach to collect data about different regions with and without cooperative platforms participating in the local market. By comparing the development of the different regions, she wants to gain insights about the impacts of platform cooperatives on the market level.
After two days of lively scientific exchange with other researchers, policy makers and entrepreneurs from all around the world, the researchers from platforms2share are already looking forward to the next year’s edition of the IWSE.