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Platform Alternatives: Strategies and Corporate Governance for Europe’s Platform Economy

Platform Alternatives: Strategies and Corporate Governance for Europe’s Platform Economy


Worldwide digitisation has enabled US platform companies to gain global reach and significant market power. In Europe, too, this has led to “platformisation”: European businesses, workers and consumers are exposed to institutions, digital infrastructures and competitive conditions created and shaped by a few private transnational platforms. This means structural change; European platform users become co-producers of economic value, but are not involved in the management of platforms and usually absorb only a small share of collective value creation. Overall, platforming seems to exacerbate economic and social inequalities.

This project addresses the question of how platformisation can be managed in order to achieve fairer results for European stakeholders. It first examines differences in platformisation in Europe, and then elaborates to what extent they are based on constellations of platform-determined institutions, infrastructures and competitive conditions. It will then look at platform entrepreneurship in Europe to analyse what alternatives European companies offer, why they do not match the reach of US platforms and how significant the similarities and difference in European value systems are for platformisation.

Much attention has been given to how platformisation could be managed by means of government regulation. In this project we approach the issue from a different but complementary angle: how platformisation could be shaped though the corporate governance arrangements of the platform companies. From this research, the project will formulate Platform Corporate Governance Principles, providing actionable advice for platform companies and their stakeholders, based on the ideas of co-determination. This project thus mediates between entrepreneurial and normative concerns from the perspective of platforms companies, ultimately contributing to a closer alignment between the platform economy and European social models.

Key Information

  • Hans Böckler Foundation
  • Project dates:
    January 2020 - December 2021

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