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Module [Module Number] Schwerpunktmodul Seminar Information Systems l [1277SMSI01]
Schwerpunktmodul Seminar Information Systems II [1277SMSI02]
Regular Cycle One-time course offering in the summer term 2021
Teaching Form Seminar
Examination Form Seminar Paper, Presentation
Teaching Language English
ECTS 6
Instructor Vertr.-Prof. Dr. Friedrich Chasin
KLIPS Summer Term 2021 (Second Registration Phase)
Syllabus Download

 

Content

Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles [...] and Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening” (Goodwin, 2015). During the last decade, we witnessed a new episode in the servitization process (Vandermerwe & Rada, 1988), as consumers increasingly prefer access to resources over ownership (Firnkorn & Müller, 2012; Marx, 2011; Rifkin, 2000). In this spirit, users of Airbnb and Uber access apartments and cars instead of owning them. Sharing services like Airbnb and Uber are known by various names, most commonly by the umbrella term sharing economy (SE, see Schlagwein et al. (2020) for a refined view on what sharing economy is and is not) (Andersson et al., 2013; Malhotra & Van Alstyne, 2014).

Among organizations that can satisfy a broad definition of a sharing economy business (a business that provides temporary access to goods and services), a distinct branch of the sharing economy businesses exists, in which privately owned physical resources are channeled into IT-enabled marketplaces. This branch has facilitated the emergence of platforms that provide access to various physical resources, including retail spaces (Storefront), 3D printers (makexyz), and even dogs (BorrowMyDoggy). For simplicity, these businesses are referred to as sharing economy businesses.

Following the initial optimism regarding the transformative power of the phenomenon (Walsh, 2011; Wogan, 2013) and the phase where academic inquiries focused on understanding major drivers behind SE, including overconsumption (Leismann et al., 2013; Moeller & Wittkowski, 2010), increasing environmental awareness (Gansky, 2010), convenience in terms of saving time, space, and effort (Scholl et al., 2013), as well as financial benefits (Bardhi & Eckhardt, 2012), a more differentiated view on sharing economy emerged highlighting, beside the benefits, the phenomenon’s dark side (Malhotra & Van Alstyne, 2014) and tempering the expectations regarding SE’s omnipresent business opportunities across industries (Chasin et al., 2018).

However, the sharing economy is here to stay, judging by the steadily rising number of sharing economy users (example from USA SE market). What remains undisputed is that within a comparatively short time, SE businesses like Airbnb and Uber were able to establish extensive infrastructures with low levels of investment and to challenge traditional value chains (Chase, 2013; Owyang, 2015; Owyang et al., 2013; The Economist, 2013). With it, the sharing economy found its way into business and academia and became part of the public vocabulary.

Against this background, the research seminar goal, alongside illuminating the specifics of sharing economy businesses and their entrepreneurial implications, is to assess the sharing economy market development of the last years and to relate it to the academic advances in terms of understanding the drivers, the challenges, and the opportunities of the sharing economy. Hence, the seminar will enable students to tap into extant research on the present and the future of sharing economy, focusing on specific aspects, including drivers of the peer- trust into sharing economy offerings, synthesis of sharing economy’s landscape of legal challenges, and analysis of the sharing economy’s sustainability impact.

The students will learn to identify, plan and conduct their research project. The research projects are likely to represent a synthesis of existing research on selected topics. Through engagement with sharing economy businesses, the students will also learn how to use market analysis to identify research opportunities.

(Please see the syllabus for the list of references)

Learning Objectives

Students …
  • search, interpret, systematise and present material for an academic presentation on a specifically defined topic.
  • develop and, in the case of an advanced seminar that is project-based or in the style of a case study, assess approaches and solutions for a specifically defined assignment, based on literature and their own work and in a limited amount of time.
  • present findings and defend them in critical discussion with fellow students.
  • engage in academic discourse.

Course Design

Fundamentals on Scientific Work

The students learn the fundamentals of scientific work via the Flipped Classroom on Scientific Work. A separate registration (and preparation) is necessary: ILIAS

Students are exempted if they have already attended the classroom session of the Flipped Classroom on Scientific Work in the context of another course. If this is the case, students should contact friedrich.chasinuni-koeln.de beforehand, providing the course name and semester in which the classroom session on scientific work has been accomplished.For more information, please click here.

Activities

The seminar's activities fall into one of two main interrelated parts: the domain part and the research part. In the domain part, students accumulate knowledge of the sharing economy domain and its businesses. In the research part, students work on a selected topic within sharing economy using their matured domain understanding.

Domain part:

  1. The students learn about the basics of the sharing economy and the structure of sharing economy businesses.
  2. The students dive into a single sharing business and its business model.
  3. The students learn how to classify sharing economy platforms and apply this knowledge to classify several platforms based on an existing dataset of 522 SE platforms classified until 2017. Each student classifies a subset of “old” and “new” sharing economy platforms.
  4. The students create a summary of changes within one of the classification dimensions, e.g., looking at how the portfolio of resources shared on sharing economy platforms has changed (for example, the proportion of platforms focusing on sharing luxury goods might have increased).

Research part:

  1. The students acquire the basics of conducting scientific work via the Flipped Classroom.
  2. The students select a research topic from the set of options (topic suggestions are possible).
  3. The students plan their seminar paper and develop a research protocol that is submitted and discussed in teams of three students + lecturer.
  4. The students develop a work-in-progress version of their paper that is submitted and discussed in teams of three students + lecturer.
  5. The final research outcome is documented in the seminar paper.

Timeline

  • 12 April 2021, 11:00-17:00: Classroom session on Scientific Work (not necessary if you have attended before)
  • 14 April 2021, 09:00-11:00: Kick-off; organization; SE basics; SE business models
  • 20 April 2021, 23:55: Submission of an individual SE business model analysis (via ILIAS)
  • 21 April 2021, 09:00-11:00: Classification of SE platforms; data set introduction
  • 28 April 2021, 09:00-11:00: Introduction to SE research; presentation of seminar paper topics; how to write a review
  • 5 May 2021, 09:00-11:00: Classification workshop 1
  • 12 May 2021, 09:00-11:00: Classification workshop 2
  • 19 May 2021, 23:55: Finalization of the classification and submission of the one-page classification summary for one of the dimensions (via ILIAS)
  • 26 May 2021, 23:55: Submission of research protocols for joint discussions on June 2 (via ILIAS)
  • 2 June 2021, 09:00-10:30 & 11:00-12:30 & 13:00- 14:30: Review of research protocols and discussion of questions in one of the slots
  • 23 June 2021, 23:55: Submission of work-in-progress for joint discussions on June 30 (via ILIAS)
  • 30 June 2021, 09:00-10:30 & 11:00-12:30 & 13:00- 14:30: Review of work-in-progress papers and discussion of questions in one of the slots
  • 21 July 2021, 23:55: Submission of the final seminar paper (via ILIAS)

Venue: Online sessions (Zoom)

Assessment

The course grade has three components:

  • Business model analysis of an individual SE platform (10%) - You assess a sharing economy business of your choosing using a dedicated business model coding template that will be introduced in the course. Results are discussed in the class.
  • SE market analysis (30%) - The seminar group receives a dataset of 522 classified sharing economy platforms based on an established taxonomy. Each student’s task is to review a part of the classification, which misses the market developments of the last four years, and to assess a part of the missing portion of the sharing economy business landscape. The classification is performed iteratively with multiple joint discussions and classification conflict resolutions. In addition to the classification, each student submits a one-page summary of observed changes within one of the classification dimensions.

  • Seminar paper (60%) - based on the matured understanding of the landscape of sharing economy businesses, your paper addresses one of the central research aspects associated with sharing economy platforms, including topics like drivers of the peer- trust into sharing economy offerings, synthesis of legal challenges and analysis of the sharing economy’s sustainability impact. The topic assignment is performed based on student preferences (each student provides three priorities), and the assignment is performed based on these priorities. The work represents a literature review and contains (1) a clear and concise introduction that motivates the research, (2) a definition of central terms and presentation of related research, (3) documentation of the review approach, (4) concept-based presentation of the review results, (5) a discussion of the results in terms of reflection on meeting the review goal, connection to the market observations, and avenues for further research, (6) a short conclusion. The submitted research protocol and work-in-progress documents are part of the seminar paper grading.

Selected Readings