Isomorphism and Buffalo Car Share: Environmental clout, symbolic capital, and community fortitude in web design and social networking
Lancaster, Stephen William
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This paper determines through quantitative analysis the patterns that thirty (30) car sharing organizations followed in terms of the industry trends for web design. Zipcar Company's public web site is used as the industry standard for web design due to the size and success of this car sharing organization in North America. Shared percentages of web features between Zipcar and the thirty other car sharing organizations were calculated to determine how they follow (or do not follow) industry trends. I also provided exploratory analysis of social networking pages (Facebook and Twitter) among two non-profit (BCS and eGo CarShare), and two for-profit car sharing organizations (Zipcar and Car2go). Findings show that BCS, like most other car sharing organizations, mostly follows the car-sharing industry model of web design. BCS's social networking pages, on the other hand, shared only a few similarities of language with the other car sharing organizations. Finally, it is suggested that despite a significant amount of mimicry of the industry standard, car sharing organizations attempt to maintain a unique business identity. Finally, it is suggested that despite a significant amount of mimicry of the industry standard, car sharing organizations do attempt to maintain unique business identities. They do so by maintaining and promoting a form of symbolic capital based on their ability to provide environmentally and socially beneficial services to their local communities. Finally, I show that car sharing organizations differ the most on their web sites, due to the: (1) profit status of the organization and (2) length of time the organization has been established, as well as (3) personal taste of the web designers.