Sharing economy business models for sustainability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: The predominant focus of academic research on the sharing economy has been on Airbnb and Uber; to this extent, the diversity of business models ascribed to the sharing economy has not yet been sufficiently explored. Greater conceptual and empirical research is needed to increase understanding of business models in the sharing economy, particularly attributes that deliver on its purported sustainability potential. Objective: We aimed to elaborate an improved sharing economy business modelling tool intended to support the design and implementation of sharing economy business models (SEBMs) with improved sustainability performance. Methods: We used a structured approach to business modelling, morphological analysis, to articulate relevant business model attributes. Our analysis was informed by a narrative literature review of business and platform models in the sharing economy. We also iteratively tested, refined, and evaluated our analysis through three structured opportunities for feedback. Results: The output of the morphological analysis was a sharing economy business modelling tool for sustainability, with stipulated preconditions and descriptions of all business model attributes. Conclusion: The sharing economy is not sustainable by default, so we must be strategic and deliberate in how we design and implement SEBMs. The sharing economy business modelling tool should be of interest not only to researchers and practitioners, but also to advocacy organisations and policymakers who are concerned about the sustainability performance of sharing platforms.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Information Systems, Social aspects


  • Morphological analysis, Sharing economy, Sustainable business models, Sustainable consumption
Original languageEnglish
Article number121519
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch