Uber is a company that has taken new technological developments and used them to create a superior service within the transportation industry amid the changing sociocultural influences of today’s societies. Uber allows for greater convenience for their riders and improves the economy of the communities within which they operate through job creation, while also operating in accordance to local, state, federal, and international laws and regulations. Because Uber is a young company that is transforming the transportation industry and entering the food and delivery service industry, I think it would be a very interesting company to research in greater detail.
Uber is taking an established infrastructure of car ownership and transportation and utilizing it in a totally new way. It’s a win-win for the drivers and riders, and the economic, environmental, and social benefits are huge. Uber is changing the mindsets of societies by initiating the transition from people purchasing their own cars to purchasing their own rides. It’s not only Uber that is transforming the transportation industry, it’s all the transportation network companies, including Uber’s competitors (Lyft, Sidecar, etc) that are part of this transformation. These companies are able to have a significant impact on the industry because of the technological developments and sociocultural influences that exist today.
Uber has rapidly expanded from its startup in San Francisco to now operating in over 250 cities and 51 different countries. In 2013, Uber’s growth rate was an impressive 369%, and in 2014, Uber’s growth rate was 300%. Because of the different politics, regulations, and cultures in each city, Uber adapts each of their launch plans to suit the area they are entering. Because Uber is entering into cities and facing competition from incumbents that are fighting against new innovative entrants, they have had to take a very local approach. Although the company has been successful in their growth strategy thus far, I question whether this type of rapid growth is sustainable?
While Uber has been very successful in countries and cities around the world, they have been bombarded with issues regarding their privacy policies, drivers as liabilities, and regulation challenges in national and international cities. These issues have greatly put stress on some of Uber’s key stakeholders, most specifically, the state and national governments of cities they have entered, the communities they have entered, their investors, and the transportation industry. In order to combat these challenges, before drivers even get a chance to be reviewed in the rating system that the Uber app uses, they must pass a three-step criminal background screening for the U.S. — with county, federal and multi-state checks that go back as far as the law allows. Although Uber has encountered some issues with the safety of their riders, the company has put in a significant amount of effort to improve their policies on a continuous basis as they learn from each mistake.
In combination of Uber’s innovative strategy, rapid growth, and political, legal, and social challenges, I think the company provides a fascinating basis for further research in regards to paper two.
Featured Image: “The American Genius” http://agbeat.com/business-news/uber-privately-blacklists-some-of-their-users-is-it-legal/