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Future Scenarios of the Collaborative Economy: Centrally Orchestrated, Social Bubbles or Decentralized Autonomous?

Fehrer, Julia A., Benoit, Sabine, Aksoy, Lerzan, Baker, Thomas L., Bell, Simon J., Brodie, Roderick J. and Marimuthu, Malliga (2018) Future Scenarios of the Collaborative Economy: Centrally Orchestrated, Social Bubbles or Decentralized Autonomous? Journal of Service Management, 29 (5). pp. 859-882.

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The collaborative economy (CE), and within it, collaborative consumption (CC) has become a central element of the global economy and has substantially disrupted service markets (e.g., accommodation and individual transportation). The purpose of this paper is to explore the trends and develop future scenarios for market structures in the CE. This allows service providers and public policy makers to better prepare for potential future disruption.


Thought experiments – theoretically grounded in Population Ecology (PE) – are used to extrapolate future scenarios beyond the boundaries of existing observations.


The patterns suggested by population ecology forecast developmental trajectories of CE leading to one of the following three future scenarios of market structures: the centrally orchestrated CE, the social bubbles CE and the decentralized autonomous CE.

Research limitations

The purpose of this research was to create CE future scenarios in 2050 to stretch one’s consideration of possible futures. What unfolds in the next decade and beyond could be similar, a variation of, or entirely different than those described.

Social implications

Public policy makers need to consider how regulations – often designed for a time when existing technologies were inconceivable – can remain relevant for the developing collaborative economy. This research reveals challenges including distribution of power, insularity and social compensation mechanisms that need consideration across states and national borders.


This research tests the robustness of assumptions used today for significant, plausible market changes in the future. It provides considerable value in exploring challenges for public policy given the broad societal, economic, and political implications of the present market predictions.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Fehrer, Julia A.
Aksoy, Lerzan
Baker, Thomas L.
Bell, Simon J.
Brodie, Roderick J.
Marimuthu, Malliga
Date : 2018
DOI : 10.1108/JOSM-04-2018-0118
Copyright Disclaimer : © Emerald Publishing Limited 2018 Published by Emerald Publishing Limited Licensed re-use rights only
Uncontrolled Keywords : Collaborative consumption; Thought experiments; Platform economy; Social bubbles; Decentralized autonomous economy
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 30 Jul 2018 10:48
Last Modified : 08 Nov 2018 14:33

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