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Governance and control of sharing economy platforms: Hosting on Airbnb

Giulia Leoni and Lee D. Parker

The British Accounting Review, 2019, vol. 51, issue 6

Abstract: Sharing economy platforms have recently surged as popular venues of business enabling people around the world to digitally interact and temporarily exchange their under-utilised assets. Beyond a very small number of exploratory studies of accounting practices underpinning these digital platform organisations, little is known about their governance and management control. This paper examines the governance and management control exercised by a digital platform owner over global users exhibited by Airbnb, a successful and pervasive sharing economy platform in the holiday accommodation sector. Through netnographic method, this study investigates the platform owner governance and control issues with respect to hosts. The analysis reveals the platform owner using predominantly formal bureaucratic control systems as mechanisms to govern and control its users. Through users’ compliance, they and their activities are made visible to the platform owner, which in turn maintains control over the value creation process. This study provides insights into how accounting systems are mobilised in digital platforms to facilitate their governance through mechanisms of surveillance, monitoring control over digital users worldwide, and how innovative and disruptive phenomena nonetheless rely on traditional technologies of governance to maintain power and control.

Keywords: Sharing economy; Governance; Platform organisations; Airbnb; Control (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:bracre:v:51:y:2019:i:6:s0890838918300829

DOI: 10.1016/j.bar.2018.12.001

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