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Sociomaterial practices for value co-creation in the sharing economy : Evidence from Xbed's access-based accommodation service

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Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the research question of how human actors and technology interact together in practices in the context of a sharing economy. The theoretical foundation of this paper is based on the existing literature about the sharing economy and studies that have been carried out examining value co-creation and sociomateriality.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts a qualitative case study method for the empirical investigation. Using theoretical sampling, Xbed, an internet, unmanned and self-service hotel platform based in Guangzhou, China, was chosen for the empirical investigation. The case was built on multiple sources of data, including archival materials, on-site fieldwork and in-depth interviews. Then, the case was interpreted based on a number of theoretical concepts, with a particular emphasis on the sociomaterial perspective.

Findings

This paper shows how human actors and technology interact with one another in a number of interrelated ways, which collectively result in the value co-creation necessary for creating a sharing economy. The authors have found that various forms of sociomateriality (the intersection between technology, work and organization) play a key role in co-creation and that interactions between these sociomaterial assemblages (assemblage-to-assemblage (A2A)) drive the development of a sharing economy. These sociomaterial assemblages have dynamic and evolving characteristics.

Practical implications

The authors argue that the key to the success of a sharing economy lies in how to engage participating actors with material entities (e.g. technology applications) to form action-enabling sociomaterial assemblages, as well as in determining how these assemblages can be systematically arranged to collectively form a larger assemblage. We suggest that managers need to conceive how relations between the social and the material realms can be structured by adopting a service logic that aims to help the beneficiary function better. The authors also suggest that managers have to consider what assemblages are necessary and how they are connected, to construct a full access-based service.

Originality/value

This paper conceptualizes the sharing economy as a system of value co-creation practices and empirically examines such practices from a sociomaterial perspective. This paper adopts the concept of sociomaterial assemblages to investigate sharing practices, through which the knowledge of the role of technology in the development of a sharing economy is enhanced. This paper also expands the knowledge of service-dominant logic by using a microfoundation perspective to look at the value co-creation that emerges as a result of the interaction between sociomaterial assemblages. These assemblages also act as constitutive elements of a service ecosystem.
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Keywords: Collaborative consumption; Resource integration; Service-dominant (S-D) logic; Sociomaterial practice; Value co-creation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Business Administration, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan, China 2: Department of Business Administration, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

Publication date: June 18, 2020

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