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Governance and control of sharing economy platforms: Hosting on Airbnb


  • Leoni, Giulia
  • Parker, Lee D.


Sharing economy platforms have recently surged as popular venues of business enabling people around the world to digitally interact and temporarily exchange their under-utilised assets. Beyond a very small number of exploratory studies of accounting practices underpinning these digital platform organisations, little is known about their governance and management control. This paper examines the governance and management control exercised by a digital platform owner over global users exhibited by Airbnb, a successful and pervasive sharing economy platform in the holiday accommodation sector. Through netnographic method, this study investigates the platform owner governance and control issues with respect to hosts. The analysis reveals the platform owner using predominantly formal bureaucratic control systems as mechanisms to govern and control its users. Through users’ compliance, they and their activities are made visible to the platform owner, which in turn maintains control over the value creation process. This study provides insights into how accounting systems are mobilised in digital platforms to facilitate their governance through mechanisms of surveillance, monitoring control over digital users worldwide, and how innovative and disruptive phenomena nonetheless rely on traditional technologies of governance to maintain power and control.

Suggested Citation

  • Leoni, Giulia & Parker, Lee D., 2019. "Governance and control of sharing economy platforms: Hosting on Airbnb," The British Accounting Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(6).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:bracre:v:51:y:2019:i:6:s0890838918300829
    DOI: 10.1016/

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    2. Hongyang He & Bin Zhang, 2022. "Effective Synergy of Market Agents: The Core of Achieving Multi-Agent Governance on the Internet Platform," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(24), pages 1-20, December.
    3. Mennicken, Andrea & Kornberger, Martin, 2021. "Von performativität zu generativität: Bewertung und ihre Folgen im Kontext der Digitalisierung," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 110925, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Piotr Zmyślony & Grzegorz Leszczyński & Anna Waligóra & Wiesław Alejziak, 2020. "The Sharing Economy and Sustainability of Urban Destinations in the (Over)tourism Context: The Social Capital Theory Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(6), pages 1-26, March.
    5. McDaid, Emma & Andon, Paul & Free, Clinton, 2023. "Algorithmic management and the politics of demand: Control and resistance at Uber," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    6. Lena Ulbricht & Karen Yeung, 2022. "Algorithmic regulation: A maturing concept for investigating regulation of and through algorithms," Regulation & Governance, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 16(1), pages 3-22, January.
    7. Alharthi, Amal & Cortese, Corinne & Moerman, Lee & Tanima, Farzana, 2022. "Surveillance capitalism in the middle east retail sector," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    8. Kayas, Oliver G., 2023. "Workplace surveillance: A systematic review, integrative framework, and research agenda," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 168(C).
    9. Laura Serrano & Antonio Sianes & Antonio Ariza-Montes, 2020. "Understanding the Implementation of Airbnb in Urban Contexts: Towards a Categorization of European Cities," Land, MDPI, vol. 9(12), pages 1-21, December.

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