Developing Strategies in the Sharing Economy: Human Influence on Artificial Neural Networks

Developing Strategies in the Sharing Economy: Human Influence on Artificial Neural Networks

Ramona Diana Leon (National School of Political and Administrative Studies, Romania)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4543-0.ch011


The sharing economy is challenging the traditional business models and strategies by encouraging collaboration, non-ownership, temporal access, and redistribution of goods and/or services. Within this framework, the current chapter aims to examine how managers influence, voluntarily or involuntarily, the reliability of a managerial early warning system, based on an artificial neural network. The analysis focuses on seven Romanian sustainable knowledge-based organizations and brings forward that managers tend to influence the results provided by a managerial early warning system based on artificial neural network, voluntarily and involuntarily. On the one hand, they are the ones who consciously decide which departments and persons are involved in establishing the structure of the managerial early warning system. On the other hand, they unconsciously influence the structure of the managerial early warning system through the authority they exercise during the managerial debate.
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The concept of “sustainability” has its roots in the social sciences, more exactly, in the ecological paradigm (O’Riordan, 1976), and it is used for the first time by George Ludwig Hartig, in 1785. He argues that forestry can be sustainable only if the future generations will be able to obtain the same benefits from its exploitation as the current generation. However, the perspective from which it is approached changed radically in the last centuries (Table 1). Thus, the theories developed in the 19th and the early 20th centuries (namely, the classical theory, the stakeholder theory, etc.) adopt an economic perspective and claim that a firm’s sustainability is ensured through profit maximization and shareholders’ satisfaction. Furthermore, the theories promoted during the 20th and 21st centuries (like, neo-institutional theory, the knowledge-based theory of the firm, the holistic theory etc.) bring forward two more perspectives, namely: the social and ecological ones; as a consequence, three pillars of company’s sustainability are emphasized, such as: profitability, stakeholders’ satisfaction, and natural environment (Fiksel, 2006; Leon, 2018a; Lozano, 2008). Nevertheless, these perspectives are combined and the borders of sustainability are extended by the sharing economy which describes a socio-economic environment dominated by non-ownership (Belk, 2014; Botsman & Rogers, 2011), intra- and inter-organizational collaboration (Leon, Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Gomez-Gasquet, & Mula, 2017; Mantymaki, Baiyere, & Islam, 2019; Sthapit, 2019), temporary access (Habibi, Davidson, & Laroche, 2017; Yang, Bi, & Liu, 2020), and sharing of under-utilized or idle goods and/or services (Hong, Kim, & Park, 2019; Lee & Kim, 2019).

Table 1.
The perspectives from which the concept of “sustainability” is approached
PerspectiveSustainability as...Author/-s (Year)
EnvironmentalA duty Barkemeyer, Holt, Preuss, and Tsang (2011); Pearce, Markandya, and Barbier (1989)
A process Braat (1991)
An ability Bansal (2005); Jennings and Zandbergen (1995)
A capacity Ariansen (1999)
A component of the social and ethical responsibility Landrum and Ohsowski (2018); Ng and Burke (2010); Richardson (2009); Schwartz and Carroll (2008)
SocialA condition Torjman (2000)
A level Black (2004)
EconomicA general goal Anderson (1991); Saunila, Nasiri, Ukko, and Rantala (2019)
A specific objective Daily and Walker (2000); Maddox (2000)
A change factorBlum-Kusterer and Hussain (2001); Bos-Brouwers (2010)
A way to satisfy stakeholders’ needs Dyllick and Hockerts (2002); Hahn, Figge, Pinkse, and Preuss (2010)
An image of productivity Dunphy, Griffiths, and Benn (2003); Holliday, Schmidheiny, and Watts (2002)
An adaptive capacity Kira and van Eijnatten (2008)
A stage of development Ketola (2010)
A process Cândea (2006)
A result Vaida and Cândea (2010)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Inappropriate Experience: The use of standard rules in various situations with the hope that they will always provide the same result. It goes hand in hand with individuals’ resistance to change.

Weak Signal: An element from the micro- or macro-environment that comes out of the blue and forces the organization to react one way or another.

Artificial Neural Network: An ICT tool that imitates the real environment, providing various estimations and emphasizing how the system could react under certain circumstances.

Sustainable Knowledge-Based Organization: A complex and adaptive economic entity in which managers are oriented towards achieving multiple objectives (knowledge, economic, environmental and social) by planning on short, medium and long term, adapting to the economic environment challenges in timely manner, and by adopting an ethic attitude towards all the stakeholders.

Managerial Early Warning System: An organizational tool based on data collection, analysis, and communication that supports the anticipated identification of weak signals and the development of the future business strategy. It involves analyzing the micro- and macro-environment, diagnosing the situation and determining the best way to react to the identified challenges.

Inappropriate Prejudgments: A belief that one’s assumption is the most appropriate one and all the other ideas that may contradict it should be ignored. It supports managerial myopia.

Sustainable Organization: An ethic and authentic firm that is able to achieve its economic, social and environmental objectives, on short, medium, and long term through the rational use of its resources.

Sustainability: The capacity of a system to develop various activities on short and long term without negatively influencing the systems with which it is connected.

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