In the paper, the authors address the fact that the rise of the sharing economy represents a disruption for incumbent organizations, institutional regimes, and society at large, causing multiple actor groups to engage in institutional work to create, maintain, and disrupt institutions. While research has provided insights into the ways in which individual actors engage in institutional work, there continues to be a lack of understanding of the dynamics between actor groups and the institutional work battles they wage in the context of the emerging sharing economy. Drawing on an in-depth analysis of the discursive institutional work during the rise of Uber and Airbnb, as represented in the news media, the team first provides new insights into which actors groups engage in institutional work and which rhetoric they utilize. They then inductively distill 15 discursive strategies of institutional work related to seven institutional discourses. Moreover, enfolding extant literature, the authors derive a taxonomy of institutional work battles and introduce the concept of cross-countering—defined as efforts to weaken, oppose, or nullify opposing discursive institutional work. Altogether, the paper provides novel insights on institutional work in the sharing economy, highlights the contested nature of institutional discourses and formalizes when such contestation fosters or hinders institutional change.
Lehmann, J., Weber, F., Waldkirch, M., Graf-Vlachy, L., & König, A. (2022). Institutional work battles in the sharing economy: Unveiling actors and discursive strategies in media discourse. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 184, 122002.