Competitive and institutional strategies in the sharing economy: A content analysis of press news on ridesharing in Brussels

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


Evidence so far has shown that the sharing economy continues to keep a firm grip on new markets by challenging traditional business models. Simultaneously, sharing economy companies are, in turn, increasingly confronted with local governments and more traditional market incumbents as they seek to strengthen their market position. Recent scholarly work points out that the sharing economy has so far remained underexposed in both theoretical and empirical research. More specifically, deeper exploration is needed of the relationship between sharing economy businesses, regulators and traditional incumbents, if we are to gain a better insight into how those actors mutually perform.
Drawing upon institutional theories, our paper raises the following questions. Through which competitive and institutional strategies do sharing economy companies seek to strengthen their performance and challenge the more traditional business models in the market? To what extent do they affect and get affected by regulations administered by the government? Our paper aims to answer these questions by focusing on Uber as a major player in the market of ridesharing in the city of Brussels. Studying Brussels as a geographical location is highly relevant from a research perspective. During the last five years, the city has developed as a stronghold in supporting smart city initiatives on technology and innovation with local stakeholders. We use content analysis of Belgian and Brussels business press articles that report on strategies and government regulations characterizing the Brussels ride sharing economy from 2014 to 2020. Findings of a first exploratory, purposive sampling, as a preparation for a large-scale study, show that competition among ridesharing company Uber and traditional riders in Brussels has been fierce, while the legal and regulatory context has been in a state of flux, indicating a highly conflictual business environment. The papers provide policy makers with some practical guidance on how to level the playing field for both new and traditional businesses in the sharing economy. We also attempt to spark off the debate around strategy and policy making in a specific city context of disruptive markets
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication7th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy (IWSE)
Place of PublicationBarcelona
Publisher7th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy (IWSE)
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
Event7th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy (IWSE): Session A3: Perspectives on car and ride sharing - Online, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 24 Feb 202126 Feb 2021


Workshop7th International Workshop on the Sharing Economy (IWSE)


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