Exploring the Governance of Platform Cooperatives: A Case Study of a Multi-Stakeholdr Marketplace Platform Cooperative
Keywords: Platform Cooperativism, Commons Governance, Fairmondo, Governance
Platform cooperativism is a movement that criticise corporate-owned sharing economy platforms regarding their negative role in generating poor social conditions of labour and extracting huge profits simply by controlling the flows between supply and demand. The aim of this movement is to bring about a change in ownership structures in favour of the platforms workers, establish democratic governance and reinvigorating the notion of solidarity. There is however a serious need to expand our current theoretical and empirical knowledge regarding this concept. Especially concerning the governance of such initiatives which is moving away from centralized top-down decision making towards complex multi-stakeholder arrangements. The objective of this thesis is therefore to identify the implemented governance mechanisms in a platform cooperative and to define the effects that these governance mechanisms has generated in the cooperative. To achieve these objectives, an inductive case study was conducted on a multi-stakeholder marketplace platform cooperative called Fairmondo. The empirical findings revealed four categories of effects generated by Fairmondos governance mechanisms, these are navigating capitalism, facilitating democratic participation, enabling mandatory transparency, engaging the community. Having identified these four categories of effects, four interwoven components constituting a general governance system for multi-stakeholder platform cooperatives was proposed, which can guide further research and practical endeavours. The theoretical contributions to commons governance and platform cooperativism is to have shown that similarities exist between both streams of literature which enrichens the novel research on platform cooperative governance with empirically tested design principles. Additionally, the proposed governance system can act as a tool for practitioners of platform cooperativism to analyse and develop their own governance structure according to the four components presented.