Rethinking the Sharing Economy: The Nature and Organization of Sharing in the 2015 Refugee Crisis

Our article focuses on a non-standard sharing example that harbors the potential to disrupt received wisdom on the sharing economy. While originally entering the field to analyze how the 2015 refugee crisis was handled in Vienna, we found that the civil society start-up Train of Hope played an outstanding role in mastering the crisis. We argue that our unusual case is in fact an excellent opportunity to discover important aspects about both the nature and organization of sharing. First, we uncover an additional dimension of sharing beyond the material sharing of resources (i.e., the economic dimension): the sharing of a distinct concern (i.e., the moral dimension of sharing). Second, we hold that a particular form of organizing facilitates the sharing economy: the sharing economy organization. This particular organizational form is distinctive – at the same time selectively borrowing and skillfully combining features from platform organizations and social movements. Our paper contributes to this Special Issue of the Academy of Management Discoveries by highlighting and explaining the two-fold economic and moral nature of sharing and the organization of sharing between movement and platform.


Martin Kornberger, Stephan Leixnering, Renate Meyer and Markus Höllerer. 2018. Rethinking the Sharing Economy: The Nature and Organization of Sharing in the 2015 Refugee Crisis, Academy of Management Discoveries, 4(3): 314-335:

2018-10-09T17:36:01+00:00 By |

About the Author:

Martin Kornberger
Martin Kornberger received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Vienna in 2002. Prior to joining EM Lyon he worked at the University of Technology Sydney as associate professor in design and management, and as research director of the Australian Creative Industry Innovation Centre; and at Copenhagen Business School as professor for strategy and organization. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh Business School and a research fellow at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. His research focuses on the ideas that inform strategy practice and new organizational designs, with the aim to stretch the imagination of practitioners and scholars.

The quality and scope of his scholarship has been recognized on an international level. His research has been published in top tier journals including Organization Studies, Organization, Human Relations, Accounting, Organization and Society, Journal of Business Ethics, Strategic Organization, Theory, Culture and Society, Sociological Review, Urban Studies and many others. Besides he has published numerous book chapters and co-authored and edited ten books, including Brand Society (Cambridge University Press), Making Things Valuable (Oxford University Press) and Plan B (Murmann).

In a previous life, he co-founded the Sydney-based branding agency PLAY which has delivered brand strategies and experiences for clients including PricewaterhouseCoopers, ISS, MINI, Adobe, GlaxoSmithKline, Kellog’s, Subaru, Jaguar, The Sydney Opera House and others. Today, he applies his research for organizations such as Tetrapak, Deloitte, Deutsche Bahn and many others.

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