Unlocking the sharing economy: Investigating the barriers for the sharing economy in a city context


  • Spencer May
  • Marcus Königsson
  • Jonny Holmstrom Umea University




Sharing economy


The sharing economy has gained much attention recently as Airbnb and Uber are spreading across the world, but little is known about how to unlock the true potential of the sharing economy. As such, this study aims to unearth the barriers and challenges associated with the sharing economy platform environment in the city of Umeå, Sweden. The qualitative case study focuses on sharing economy efforts in the city of Umeå, a city characterized by high technical competency and world leading broadband connectivity, while having almost no activity in the digital sharing economy. The study identifies the barriers, pathways, and opportunities related to the sharing economy and how they apply to the city of Umeå. As such the study reveals the ways in which the sharing economy can help a city increase their digital density as well as making the city more attractive for those living in and traveling through the area.

Author Biographies

Spencer May

Master’s degree in IT management from Umeå University and works with International Business Development at COS Systems.

Marcus Königsson

Formal system science student with a Master’s degree in IT management and currently studying Java development at Luleå Technical University.

Jonny Holmstrom, Umea University

Jonny Holmstrom is a professor of Informatics at Umeå University and director and co-founder of the Swedish Center for Digital Innovation. He writes, consults and speaks on topics such as IT management, IT innovation, and strategies for leveraging IT-based value for firms. Holmstrom is the founder and CEO for Holmstrom Management and Communications, co-founder and CEO for Remus Minds, and co-founder of Remus Technologies. He uses rigorous research to gain insight into how firms can leverage value from IT use. His work has appeared in journals such as Communications of the AIS, Convergence, Design Issues, European Journal of Information Systems, Industrial Management and Data Systems, Information and Organization, Information Resources Management Journal, Information Systems Journal, Information Technology and People, Journal of the AIS, Journal of Global Information Technology Management, Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Research Policy, Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, and The Information Society. He is a senior editor for Information and Organization and serves on the editorial boards for Communications of the AIS, European Journal of Information Systems, and Journal of the AIS




How to Cite

May, S., Königsson, M., & Holmstrom, J. (2017). Unlocking the sharing economy: Investigating the barriers for the sharing economy in a city context. First Monday, 22(2). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i2.7110