A highly debatable issue is whether or not a paradigm shift toward the sharing economy could help to address the economic, social and environmental challenges of our time. This article contributes to the academic discussion by exploring the types of value created by sharing organisations and the strategies they use to institutionalise themselves in relation to powerful institutions. The study applies two analytical frameworks, based on value creation and institutional strategies, to three empirical case studies of bicycle sharing systems (BSS) in Barcelona. Rich data was collected from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including a field visit to Barcelona, interviews with representatives of the three bicycle sharing systems, observations and literature analysis. We found that the environmental value these organisations create is closely interlinked with the social value they produce and that these values outweigh negative impacts of their operations. All case organisations employ regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive strategies for their institutionalisation but are also subject to powerful institutions beyond their individual control. We recommend that entrepreneurs, city officials, the public and other stakeholders engage in collaborative and open development processes to shape the emerging sharing economy alongside the institutional work of sharing organisations.
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