When the covid-19 pandemic paralysed society, companies and organizations found themselves in a very difficult situation. While the overall collaborative economy has been hit hard, many sharing platforms, such as Uber, Airbnb and Karma, found new ways to not only survive, but to thrive. A new study shows how they’re doing it.
Oksana Mont, together with her fellow Lund University researchers Steven Kane Curtis and Yuliya Voytenko Palgan, investigates how different sharing platforms have responded during the pandemic.
New business models and partnerships
The sharing economy is based on renting, borrowing or sharing products and services, rather than owning them, and is often seen as a path towards more sustainable consumption and production. Pandemic restrictions have presented many difficulties for sharing platforms, especially with participants often needing to meet in order to exchange goods or services. In response to this, many companies have developed strategies to manage the situation, often finding new opportunities and partnerships in the process. Karma, a company that sells rescued food, for example, has begun working with food distributors to assemble boxes of excess food that customers can subscribe to instead of needing to shop in-store.
Surprising community efforts
Oksana Mont says that they saw many examples of the collaborative economy providing services where public sector or government agency efforts proved insufficient, inaccessible, or inadequate. This was true for local grassroots organizations as well as major players in the sharing economy.
– We were pleasantly surprised to discover how many sharing organizations mobilised their own resources to help those who needed it, says Oksana Mont.
Framework for organisational response strategies
The study sets up a framework to help sharing platforms learn from each other in the hope of encouraging perseverance, long-term thinking, sustainability, and the ability to recover; something that Oksana Mont hopes will be of interest to both business operators and academics alike.