Disruption in the platform economy: Interview with Klemens Witte

Topics: Digitalization

Global square contributor “Augusto Soto” meets with “Klemens Witte” Research Associate at the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC)in Berlin to discuss how new technological platforms are disrupting traditional business models worldwide:

AS: My first reflection is twofold. There is a heating debate right now on the scope of action of the platform enterprises. At the same time much speculation abounds concerning digitalisation studies in times heralding a fragile labour environment worldwide 

KW: Yes, a debate has been started around the question on how powerful platform Making multilateralism work in the face of a nationalist backlashenterprises (such as Google, Alibaba, Apple, Uber, Baidu, Tencent, etc.) shape economy and society. On-demand ride sharing businesses (Uber, Didi Chuxing, Taxify, Careem, Ola, Yandex taxi, Grab) are at the heart of the debate on the impact of the platform economy and have in many countries led to the disruption of non-digitalised taxi companies, which in some regards lack the service quality and convenience that customers demand. Ride-hailing app companies are a prime example, for tech-companies backed by venture capital that quickly scale up the business model and transform a business sector.


Klemens Witte is Research Associate at the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC)in Berlin. DOC studies the causes of tension and identifies opportunities for conflict resolution in the real world. Witte is specifically interested in economic questions intertwined with international relations, and policy-making. Right now he is engaged in a long-term research on a transnational approach on working conditions in the platform economy in the digital age.

Klemens Witte holds a Masters in Political Science and Intercultural Communication (Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg), a second Masters in Baltic Sea Studies (Södertörns University College/Stockholm), and a postgraduate LL.M. in International Economic Law (Southwest-University for Political Science and Law/Chongqing and Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg). He has worked within the fields of internationalization and education as a desk officer with Swedish government ministries and as a lecturer from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Previously he gained international experience in universities in Kazan, Moscow, Kaliningrad, Minsk, and Beijing.