++ Uber in Quebec - Information for Journalists (Sept. 26, 2017) ++

Uber’s threat to pull out of Quebec if province insists on stricter rules is an element of its market-driving strategy. 

Uber is a glocal company - one that wants to operate globally but also one that needs to understand local market preferences and structures in order to succeed.

Uber’s way of getting people from A to B is not inherently better or worse than traditional alternatives but simply different. It brings riders and drivers together who then negotiate the social, financial, and physical risks of transportation amongst themselves. 

This is very different from the traditional paradigm where risks are managed through institutions such as unions, insurance companies, and regulatory structures. Uber's model can have real benefits but also harbours some costs.

Importantly, value perceptions around Uber are not universal but play out differently in each community in accordance with local power relationships, political preferences, and other economic and political factors.

Consequently, when making the case for Uber is never a one-size-fits all enterprise but differs considerably from city market to city market, Uber needs leadership in each city market - market designers who understand and can also help shape specific institutional setup and value systems.

Uber’s current move is an attempt to render city representatives and labor unions as hurdles to innovation and progress by linking Uber’s absence to the absence of city- and consumer-level competitive benefits such as safety, prosperity, cost savings, etc. This move is held to render traditional taxis as suboptimal while mobilizing progressive consumers to “join the movement” and demand greater competitiveness.

It is also an opportunity for proponents of stricter regulation such as labor unions to render Uber as an aggressive Silicon Valley behemoth seeking to undermine local community values and structures.

Uber’s suggested withdrawal, which would affect around 50 office workers and more than 10,000 Uber drivers, is likely not the last word. Negotiations will continue.

More information about Uber on this blog can be found herehere and here. Also see here and CBC The National tonight at 10:08pm approx., or if you watch the show on CBC News Network, at 9:08pm. 

For information about ongoing research about Uber, please contact sarah@bigdesignlab.com

Pour les informations en français, je recommends Prof. Pierre-Yann Dolbec , Université Condordia. 

Markus Giesler, Associate Professor of Marketing
York University, Schulich School of Business