Airbnb: Crisis Communication in the Sharing Economy

James S O'Rourke IV Matthew Beck William Foster Claire Kenney

2016, Journal of Organizational Behavior Education

643 Views16 Pages 1 File ▾

Disruptive Innovation,, Corporate Reputation, Disruptive Technologies, Collaborative Consumption, Reputation Management


Airbnb, a rapidly growing peer-to-peer rental property platform, faces scrutiny and backlash for its actions after teenage guest, Jacob Lopez, claims to have been sexually assaulted by his host. The case discusses the struggles associated with a rapidly growing company in the sharing economy. To provide a proper framework for analysis, the case also details a brief history of Airbnb's responses to similar previous incidents. How does Airbnb protect its guests from harm with little to no control over the behavior of its hosts? (Or, vice versa?) What communication tactics need to be implemented to respond to future hazardous incidents?


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