UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Scott Sonenshein, Rice, to host a research seminar discussing From Mine to Ours: Managing Boundaries in the “Sharing Economy”
Using grounded theory with interview data collected from providers across five sharing economy platforms, we induce theory about how sharing economy providers psychologically prepare to share personal resources with strangers as part of their work, set boundaries around resources and relationships, and respond to boundary violations. By situating a study of boundary theory in the sharing economy—where professional and personal domains blur—we unpack the processes surrounding instances of boundary violations. Surprisingly, we find that despite sharing private resources and interacting with users in highly personal spaces and situations, boundary violations sometimes have benefits for workers. In particular, boundary violations can result in growing and interpersonal connecting, encouraging providers to expand (rather than constrict) their boundaries. Our research provokes scholars to reconsider boundary work as a more varied and subjective process that has the possibility of affording workers with benefits, even when confronting challenges.