Legitimacy in the Platform Economy: An Ecosystemic Perspective

Karolina Mikołajewska-Zając, Attila Marton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Despite the rapid rise and contemporary ubiquity of digital platforms in all social domains, the question how these new organizations build legitimacy remains insufficiently examined. Legitimacy has been studied mostly in the context of formal organizations. However, given the significant differences between platforms and formal organizations, there are also important differences in their strategies of legitimacy building. We propose an understanding of legitimacy as a stable relationship between platform and ecosystem. As very little is currently known about this topic, we ask how legitimacy is built in digital platform-ecosystems and provide preliminary answers, based on findings from a revelatory case study on Couchsurfing, the popular online hospitality platform for alternative travelling.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event35th EGOS Colloquium 2019: Enlightening the Future: The Challenge for Organizations - University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jul 20196 Jul 2019
Conference number: 35


Conference35th EGOS Colloquium 2019
LocationUniversity of Edinburgh Business School
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Platform economy
  • Platform-ecosystem
  • Legitimacy
  • Emergent strategies for legitimacy building

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