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The public responsibility of platform corporations

Radic, Mislav and Tirapani, Alessandro Niccolo' (2021) The public responsibility of platform corporations. Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 2021 (1). ISSN 0065-0668

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Identification Number: 10.5465/AMBPP.2021.11166abstract


To capture the ethical and political challenges posed by so-called platform corporations, in this paper we develop the concept of public responsibility. Despite the proliferation of research in corporate social responsibility (CSR), existing theories seem to fall short when it comes to the complexities of recent forms of organising. By analysing the concept of a multisided platform business models (MSPs) through a CSR lens, we argue that the responsibilities they face resemble more those of organisations in the public sector (i.e., public utilities) than those normally ascribed to private businesses – hence we develop the concept of public responsibility. We identify five sources of this responsibility: network effects; centrality of data production, collection and monetisation; global scale; and private policy-setting. Consequently, we argue that MSPs uniquely combine them, leading to three dimensions of public responsibility: privacy, accessibility and control of content. By doing so, we show how platform corporations have developed and provide ‘private’ services that in many ways are of ‘public character’, blurring our traditional understanding of public vs. private goods and services.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 Academy of Management
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2021 11:54
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 16:53

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