Surfacing some implications of the sharing economy: A New Zealand perspective
This thesis highlights major influences and effects that the sharing economy appears to be having on New Zealand businesses. The sharing economy is “a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human and physical resources” (Matofska, 2014). It has enabled consumers to borrow and/or lease resources owned by other businesses and even individuals within a nation’s economy as a whole. The purpose of this study is to uncover insights into whether New Zealand businesses are preparing or have prepared to counter the effects of the shifting market landscape, in the form of the sharing economy, and how have these reactions manifested. The distinctiveness of this particular study is the focus on primary information collection and emphasis on cross- industry and organisation empirical research. A comprehensive literature review has been undertaken to capture the nature of previous studies in this subject area and frame the direction that this research will take. Subsequent to the literature review, it was decided that qualitative in-depth interviews with ten business managers from New Zealand companies would provide the best scope in identifying the key reactions and effects of managers to emergence of the sharing economy. The results demonstrate that a majority of the participants have re-considered their operational strategy, with many moving into niche areas of their industry to deliver value that cannot be matched by sharing platforms. Resource allocation and worker conditions have also adjusted to better suit the dynamics of a market environment that has been influenced by the sharing economy. A number of issues in adaptation to the sharing economy have also been unearthed. Regulatory disputes and market suitability to sharing processes have been the major causes for concern, but through collaboration with a variety of stakeholders, those who have adjusted have found success in creating what they indicate are prosperous environments. Some incumbents have been unyielding as their industry experiences disruption from the sharing economy, and the results of this thesis demonstrate that this is done at their own detriment. Incumbent firms must be wary of the growing levels of sophistication of sharing platforms and whether their adaptions thus far are sustainable in the long term.