Special Issue "Sharing Economy for Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Ivan Lai
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Guest Editor
Faculty of International Tourism and Management, City University of Macau, Avenida Padre Tomás Pereira, Taipa 999078, Macau
Dr. Yide Liu
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Guest Editor
Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau 999078, China
Interests: sustainable cities; competitive and sustainable strategy; information systems
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Dong Lu
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Guest Editor
School of Business, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu 610101, China
Dr. Hiram Ting
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Guest Editor
Sarawak Research Society/Institute of Borneo Studies, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia

Special Issue Information

The traditional ownership-based economy encourages and maximizes consumption in an unsustainable way. Unsustainable consumption causes environmental degradation and reduced ecosystem health. With the development of internet technology, the sharing economy has experienced exponential growth. Since the sharing economy has changed the way through which goods and services are consumed from traditional, ownership-based acquisition to sharing-based access, it can be viewed as a way to reduce carbon footprints. Nevertheless, the sharing economy offers cheaper consumer goods and services; it may attract people to spend more, resulting in an increase in the volume of carbon emission. Thus, it remains relatively unclear whether the sharing economy promotes or destructs environmental sustainable development.

Recently, Martin (2016) argued that the sharing economy is framed as: (1) an economic opportunity; (2) a more sustainable form of consumption; (3) a pathway to a decentralized, equitable, and sustainable economy; (4) something that creates unregulated marketplaces; (5) something that reinforces the neoliberal paradigm; and, (6) an incoherent field of innovation. Theoretically, the sharing economy can promote more sustainable consumption and production practices. It can create more economic opportunities and new marketplaces, and subsequently promote economic sustainable development. However, it may pose a serious threat to existing industries (Wu and Zhi, 2016), thus bringing more harm to economic sustainability.

Furthermore, the sharing economy can stimulate social sustainable development by solving certain social problems such as unemployment (Fang et al., 2015). It can also establish people’s collective and probably more lasting sustainable behaviours (Binninger et al., 2015). However, concerns remain, as the new business models may be in conflict with traditional business and jeopardize efforts to address social problems.

The sharing economy leads the debate on economic, social, and environmental sustainable development in different research contexts. Hence, there is a need for research to show how the sharing economy can benefit or defect sustainability in different aspects. This Special Issue on the “sharing economy for sustainability” will group together contributions describing state-of-the-art experiences and scholarly studies associated with the sharing economy and sustainability. Submitted papers should address one or more of the following questions:

  • What are the sustainable issues generated from the sharing economy?
  • How can the sharing economy promote economic, social, and environment sustainable development?
  • How can the sharing economy influence consumers’ behavior toward sustainable/collaborative consumption?
  • What are the sustainability factors that influence people to offer sharing economy services?
  • What is the role of technology in steering the development of the sharing economy towards sustainability?

References:

Binninger, A.S., Ourahmoune, N., and Robert, I., (2015). Collaborative consumption and sustainability: A discursive analysis of consumer representations and collaborative website narratives, The Journal of Applied Business Research, 31(3), 969-986.

Fang, B., Ye, Q., and Law, R., (2015). Effect of sharing economy on tourism industry employment. Annals of Tourism Research, 57, 264-267.

Martin, C.J., (2016). The sharing economy: A pathway to sustainability or a nightmarish form of neoliberal capitalism? Ecological Economics, 121, 149-159.

Wu, X., and Zhi, Q., (2016). Impact of shared economy on urban sustainability: From the perspective of social, economic, and environmental sustainability, Energy Procedia, 104, 191-196.

Prof. Ivan Lai
Dr. Yide Liu
Dr. Dong Lu
Dr. Hiram Ting
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainable innovative technologies;
  • Sharing economy;
  • Collaborative consumption;
  • Social innovation;
  • New metrics;

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
A Two-Sided Matching Model for Task Distribution in Ridesharing: A Sustainable Operations Perspective
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2187; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072187 - 11 Apr 2019
Abstract
With regard to task distribution in a ridesharing company, both the suitability of the tasks assigned to the drivers and the acceptability of the riders receiving the service should be simultaneously considered to improve the sustainability regarding Hitch services. Firstly, the process of [...] Read more.
With regard to task distribution in a ridesharing company, both the suitability of the tasks assigned to the drivers and the acceptability of the riders receiving the service should be simultaneously considered to improve the sustainability regarding Hitch services. Firstly, the process of the bi-directional choice between the drivers and the riders is described as a one-to-one two-sided matching problem. Next, prospect theory is used to characterize the psychological perceived behavior of both sides towards the matching scheme under the multiple criteria. Thus, the suitability function concerning the drivers and the acceptability function regarding the riders are naturally constructed. Following this, a two-sided matching decision model with two objectives is proposed. Finally, numerical experiments are presented to verify the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed model. Besides, managerial insights associated with how to set the optimization objectives under unbalanced supply-demand in ridesharing companies are given. Increasingly, this paper aims to not only validate the proposed methodology, but also to highlight the importance and urge of incorporating sustainability into the task distribution problem in ridesharing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sharing Economy for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Market Orientation on Performance of Sharing Economy Business: Focusing on Marketing Innovation and Sustainable Competitive Advantage
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030729 - 30 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study investigated relationships among the market orientation of sharing economy business, marketing innovation, sustainable competitive advantage (SCA), and performance. Attempts are made to understand market orientation from cultural and behavioral perspectives to accelerate marketing innovation and identify measures for SCA and performance [...] Read more.
This study investigated relationships among the market orientation of sharing economy business, marketing innovation, sustainable competitive advantage (SCA), and performance. Attempts are made to understand market orientation from cultural and behavioral perspectives to accelerate marketing innovation and identify measures for SCA and performance building. Frequency, reliability, validity, fitness, and path analyses were performed on 400 respondents, and a structural model was used. The results are as follows. First, functional coordination of the cultural market orientation of sharing economy business with consumer orientation significantly affected product innovation, but competitive orientation’s effect on product innovation was not significant. Competitive orientation and functional coordination significantly affected communication innovation, but consumer orientation’s effect on communication innovation was not significant. Second, market information generation and response to market information of behavioral market orientation of sharing economy business significantly influenced product innovation, but market information exchange’s influence on product innovation was not significant. Even though market information exchange and response to market information had a significant influence on communication innovation, the influence of market information generation on communication innovation was not significant. Third, both product and communication innovation of the marketing innovation of sharing economy business significantly influenced SCA. Fourth, the SCA of sharing economy business significantly influenced market dominating power. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sharing Economy for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Bicycle Sharing: Sustainable Value Creation and Institutionalisation Strategies in Barcelona
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 728; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030728 - 30 Jan 2019
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sharing Economy for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Environmental Potential of Collaborative Consumption: Peer-to-Peer Product Sharing in Hammarby Sjöstad, Sweden
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010190 - 02 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Collaborative consumption—through sharing services—has been promoted as an important step in transforming current consumption patterns toward more sustainable practices. Whilst there are high expectations for sharing services, there are few studies on the potential environmental benefits and impacts of sharing services. This study [...] Read more.
Collaborative consumption—through sharing services—has been promoted as an important step in transforming current consumption patterns toward more sustainable practices. Whilst there are high expectations for sharing services, there are few studies on the potential environmental benefits and impacts of sharing services. This study aims to analyze the potential environmental impacts of a peer-to-peer (P2P) product sharing platform and potential integration with a package drop-off/pick-up service in the urban district of Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm, Sweden. A life cycle approach is adopted, taking into account product lifetime and use, the potential replacement of conventional products and services, impacts from digital infrastructure and their impacts on the environment. The results indicate that there is significant potential for these sharing services to reduce environmental impacts associated with production and consumption; primarily through avoiding production and reducing the production impacts of new product purchases. The results also illustrate potential synergies to integrate with the package drop-off/pick up service; where the impacts from shared products are further reduced by reducing transportation impacts through improved logistics. However, the results are dependent upon, and sensitive to, a number of methodological choices and assumptions; highlighting the need for greater knowledge on the use environmental assessments of sharing services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sharing Economy for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Core Resource and Competence Characteristics of Sharing Economy Business on Shared Value, Distinctive Competitive Advantage, and Behavior Intention
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3416; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103416 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Sharing economy businesses need to increase the value of service effectiveness through the efficiency of their core resources and capabilities, and the effectiveness and efficiency-based services can achieve high results through business competitive advantage. Therefore, this study identifies the need for core resource [...] Read more.
Sharing economy businesses need to increase the value of service effectiveness through the efficiency of their core resources and capabilities, and the effectiveness and efficiency-based services can achieve high results through business competitive advantage. Therefore, this study identifies the need for core resource and competence characteristics, both concepts are approachable from the competitive advantage and resource-based perspectives of the sharing economy business, and it also presents a comprehensive structural model of the shared value creation, distinctive competitive advantage, and behavior intention of the sharing economy business through these concepts. For this purpose, data were collected by survey questionnaires, and a preliminary survey (50 persons) as a pretest and the main survey (550 persons) were conducted and 534 experienced consumers were finally used for data analysis. For the data analysis method, frequency, reliability/validity, model-fit, and path analyses were conducted. The results of the study are the following. First, visibility, inimitability, and asymmetry of the core resources of sharing economy business have a significant effect on shared value. Additionally, while inimitability and asymmetry have a significant effect on distinctive competitive advantage. Second, the integration and internalization of core abilities of sharing economy services have a significant effect on shared value. However, externalization and internalization have a significant effect on distinctive competitive advantage. Finally, the shared values of sharing economy business have a significant effect on distinctive competitive advantage, shared value has a significant effect on behavior intention, and distinctive competitive advantage has a significant effect on behavior intention. Through the importance of managing strategic factors for these shared values and distinctive competitive advantages, this study is aimed at the development of core resources and dynamic ability leading to achievement that is expected to be a systematic academic basis for environmental impact information of sharing economy business. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sharing Economy for Sustainability)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Defining the Sharing Economy for Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030567 - 22 Jan 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
(1) Background: The sharing economy has emerged as a phenomenon widely described by academic literature to promote more sustainable consumption practices such as access over ownership. However, there exists great semantic confusion within academic literature surrounding the term “sharing economy,” which threatens the [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The sharing economy has emerged as a phenomenon widely described by academic literature to promote more sustainable consumption practices such as access over ownership. However, there exists great semantic confusion within academic literature surrounding the term “sharing economy,” which threatens the realisation of its purported sustainability potential. (2) Objective: The aim of this paper is to synthesise the existing academic definitions and propose a definition of the sharing economy from the perspective of sustainability science in order to indicate sharing practices that are consistent with the sustainability claims attributed to the sharing economy. (3) Methods: We conduct a database search to collect relevant academic articles. Then, we leverage qualitative content analysis in order to analyse the authors’ definitions and to synthesise the broad dimensions of the sharing economy in the discourse. (4) Results: We propose the following characteristics, or semantic properties, of the sharing economy for sustainability: ICT-mediated, non-pecuniary motivation for ownership, temporary access, rivalrous and tangible goods. (5) Conclusion: The semantic properties that inform our definition of the sharing economy for sustainability indicate those sharing practices that promote sustainable consumption compared to purely market-based exchanges. This definition is relevant for academics studying the sustainability impacts of the sharing economy in order to promote comparability and compatibility in research. Furthermore, the definition is useful for policy-makers, entrepreneurs, managers and consumers that have the sharing economy on the agenda in order to promote social enterprise and support sustainable consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sharing Economy for Sustainability)
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