A Sustainable Platform Economy & the Future of Corporate Governance

Lex Research Topics in Corporate Law & Economics Working Paper No. 2019-1

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) - Law Working Paper No. 441/2019

38 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2019 Last revised: 12 Mar 2019

See all articles by Mark Fenwick

Mark Fenwick

Kyushu University - Graduate School of Law

Erik P. M. Vermeulen

Tilburg University - Department of Business Law; Signify (formerly known as Philips Lighting) - Legal Department; Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Kyushu University - Graduate School of Law

Date Written: February 9, 2019

Abstract

A significant development in the global economy over the last two decades has been the emergence of businesses that organize and define themselves as “platforms.” By platform, we refer to any organization that uses digital or other emerging technologies to create value by facilitating or coordinating connections between two or more groups of users. Think Amazon (connecting buyers and sellers), Facebook (connecting friends and family), or Uber (connecting service providers and service users). Over the last decade, platforms have grown to become some of the largest companies in the world and all companies and other organizations are now obliged to consider integrating platform ideas and experience into their operations. However, platforms are increasingly controversial. Most obviously, they raise concerns about privacy (think Facebook and Google) and market power (think Amazon and Google). And as platforms have expanded in size, they have struggled to maintain their initial promise and brands that were initially disruptive have lost much of their initial appeal (think Facebook or Uber).

In this paper, we identify the distinctive features of a “platform business model” (though a comparison with the modern company) and introduce the concept of a “sustainable platform,” to describe a platform-style business that is both innovative and socially responsible. The main argument of the paper is to suggest that there is a “disconnect” between the current business needs and values of sustainable platforms and contemporary policies and regulation, particularly corporate governance. Overcoming this disconnect – developing a new “platform governance” – is crucial for the long-term prospects of sustainable platforms, and the economy more generally.

Keywords: Blockchain, Coding, Community, Corporate Governance, Culture, Digital Transformation, Organizations, Platforms, Reporting, Sustainability, Technology, Theory of the Firm, Transparency

JEL Classification: D23, D25, G34, K22, L21, L22, L25, L26, M13, M14

Suggested Citation

Fenwick, Mark and Vermeulen, Erik P.M., A Sustainable Platform Economy & the Future of Corporate Governance (February 9, 2019). Lex Research Topics in Corporate Law & Economics Working Paper No. 2019-1, European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) - Law Working Paper No. 441/2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3331508 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3331508

Mark Fenwick

Kyushu University - Graduate School of Law ( email )

744 Motooka, Nishi-ku,
Fukuoka, Fukuoka 819-0395
Japan

Erik P.M. Vermeulen (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Department of Business Law ( email )

Signify (formerly known as Philips Lighting) - Legal Department ( email )

Amstelplein 2
Amsterdam
Netherlands

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

Kyushu University - Graduate School of Law ( email )

6-19-1, Hakozaki, Higashiku
Fukuoka, 812-8581
Japan

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
376
Abstract Views
1,544
rank
87,803
PlumX Metrics