Institutional Entrepreneurship in the Platform Economy: How Uber Tried (and failed) to Change the Dutch Taxi Law

Authors: Peter Pelzer, Koen Frenkenb and Wouter Boon

Date of publish: 2019

Why did we conduct this research?

Operating outside the traditional transactional platform is bound to create some tensions, as no previous experience nor knowledge on how to properly (and legally) do that is available. This is the purpose of this paper: to explore the strategies that new platforms such as Uber tried to use (and failed) in order to get the approval from the Dutch government. Institutionalization seems to be the main reason why Uber did not manage to align with the government and hence, be legitimized. 

Key findings:

  • Uber failed to change the Dutch taxi law because it tried to apply simultaneously five different strategies. This created incoherence.
  • Too much focus on pragmatic legitimacy. 
  • The traditional taxi lobby took advantage of this incoherence and was successfully keep the status quo.


Pelzer, P., Frenken, K., & Boon, W. (2019). Institutional entrepreneurship in the platform economy: How Uber tried (and failed) to change the Dutch taxi law. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. Utrecht, the Netherlands.