Sharing for hire: will monetizing business models hurt the attractiveness of the sharing economy?

In order to survive sharing platforms must find ways to monetize the services they offer in facilitating peer-to-peer sharing. New business models for the sharing of personal items usually transform the value proposition from sharing for free to renting and minimize personal interactions to increase the convenience for participants. Using an experiment and a survey we investigate whether these new business models will help attract the mass of users that is critical to the growth of the sharing economy or whether, on the contrary, they will crowd out the relational value that seems to drive many people’s participation in the sharing economy. We make three discoveries. First, business models affect how (prospective) participants see peer-to-peer relationships on sharing platforms, which in turn helps explain that some platforms are more attractive than others. This suggests that in general relational value matters to participants. Our second discovery is that sharing platforms do not face a ‘free or fee’ dilemma when devising a new business model. For the sharing of personal items, money does not crowd out relational value: renting with personal interactions is attractive to prospective participants. Third, there is room for a variety of business models: participants do not care equally about relational value and those who care less about it (according to the functional and social benefits they seek) are less likely to shy away from platforms that adopt a business model of renting without personal interactions.

Stofberg, N., Bridoux, F., Kolk, A., Vock, M. and van de Glind, P. (2017), 'Sharing for hire: will monetizing business models hurt the attractiveness of the sharing economy?', Academy of Management Proceedings, 1.


  • Research publication
  • Other
  • Yes
  • no specific sector focus
  • platform characteristics, motivation
  • English
  • Academy of Management Proceedings (Publisher)
  • Quantitative research
  • 2017
  • Subscription
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