1 Special Issue
Digital services and online platforms have become pervasive in all our daily lives and facilitate a wide variety of economic and social activities. This digitization of business and society has profound implications for consumer behavior and, consequently, many industries worldwide. For example, two-sided markets have emerged as popular alternatives to traditional media channels and business models. With billions in venture capital and significant market evaluations, the platform economy’s most prominent players have, in fact, entered the league of long-established industry incumbents in their respective domains. Examples include electronic commerce (e.g., Amazon, eBay, Zalando), accommodation (e.g., Airbnb, Booking.com, ImmobilienScout24), mobility (e.g., Getaround, BlaBlaCar), online work (e.g., Upwork, Fiverr, 99designs), manual tasks (e.g., Helpling, TaskRabbit), dating (e.g., Parship, Tinder), and many more.
Platforms impact business and society in many ways. New business models such as ride- and accommodation sharing, which were inconceivable on a large scale even a few years ago, have become mainstream now. As a result of
platformization of people’s lives, factors such as trust and privacy have gained more prominence than ever before. Platforms’ design choices and employed algorithms affect our lives in many ways as these decisions – deliberately or not – set the rules for our social and economic interactions. This leads to issues such as the potential for algorithmic bias on these platforms and certain sections of the society being disadvantaged in the long-run. What is more, the twenty-first century’s human being is forced to maintain a complex online reputation. Reputational data emerge in several (platform-bound) contexts – building and maintaining this reputation as a signal of trustworthiness and enabler of transactions is associated with effort and costs.
With this Special Issue, we seek to address the implications of this digital future in view of users, platform operators, legislative bodies, citizens, and society as a whole, with a particular focus on the “less traveled paths” (see bullet list below) in this domain. A rich body of work has emerged within this field of research, but many open questions remain – and new ones are prompted literally every week. In addition, it is apparent that there exist theoretical deficits within the platform literature. We hence also call for contributions applying established theoretical perspectives to the outlined problems, advancing them, or conceiving novel ones. We therefore seek contributions focusing on – but not necessarily limited to – the following selected areas:
Roles of users, operators, and policymakers in the context of platform governance
Dynamics of online crowd work and data marketplaces
Impact of artificial intelligence methods on platform economics
Role of digital platforms in alleviating and/or exacerbating existing biases and prejudices in society
Societal implications of digital platforms
Gender discrimination and pay gaps on contemporary platforms as well as countermeasures
Fake reviews and fake user profiles in the platform economy
Role of reputation systems as a means of self-regulation
Role of platforms in fighting the current and future pandemics
Impact of the “working from home” paradigm on the platform economy
Citizen Science platforms as a means to democratize the scientific method
2 Submission Guidelines
Each submission will be reviewed anonymously (double-blind process) by at least two referees concerning its relevance, originality, and research quality. In addition to the special issue editors, distinguished international scholars will be involved in the review process as associate editors.
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