The Sharing Economy beyond Platform Dynamics: Investigating the internationalization Dynamics of Access-based and Platform-based Sharing Economy Companies

Marc Büchel & Petter Sjöberg

Student thesis: Master thesis


Sharing economy companies have experienced rapid growth in the last decade. However, the understanding of these companies’ internationalization process remains limited. To date, research in that area has mainly focused on platform dynamics as the main factor influencing the internationalization dynamics of these firms. By identifying inconsistencies within the definitions of the sharing economy, we distinguish between platform-based and access-based sharing economy companies. Based on these definitions we investigate their distinctive internationalization processes by applying the concepts of speed and scope of internationalization. Our work is based on a case study of the companies Wework, Airbnb, Zipcar and Didi. We use blog posts and news articles to create timelines of the companies’ internationalization processes. The timelines are analyzed in connection with theory to gain understanding of the speed and scope of internationalization. We find that the platform-based sharing economy companies internationalize with a higher foreign market entry speed, post-entry speed and have a broader scope of internationalization. These findings indicate that the underlying business model of sharing economy companies studied affects their speed and scope of internationalization. Furthermore, the findings underline that the internationalization process of sharing economy companies is affected by other factors beyond platform dynamics, which encourages further investigation of the subject.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages172