Sharing in Collaborative Consumption: A Paradox Perspective

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    As established by the service-dominant logic (SDL) (Vargo and Lusch 2004), value cocreation is imperative, and it appears particularly pertinent to the emerging sharing economy (Naddem et al. 2021). The sharing economy encompasses several related practices, which together are predicted to attain a total market value of $335 billion by 2025 (PwC 2015). Collaborative consumption (CC) represents a widely adopted version of the sharing economy (Bardhi and Eckhardt 2012), as exemplified by two well-known CC platforms, Airbnb and Uber, which account for market values of $10 and $18 billion, respectively (Martin 2016). Such manifestations of the sharing economy involve peer service providers and customers as key value cocreators, who rely on an online platform, functioning as a service enabler, to enter into an exchange based on monetary compensation but no transfer of legal ownership.

    While recent studies on the roles and outcomes of CC have been considerable, they predominately adopt a customer perspective to establish their expectations and evaluations of sharing platform features (for a review, see Table 1); fewer investigations include service providers’ perspectives. Yet these evaluations are crucial to developing CC, because values can be cocreated successfully only with the active, joint participation of both customers and service providers. Particularly, providers’ service quality can directly affects customers’ satisfaction, repurchase intentions, and perceptions of the sharing platform’s brand image. Furthermore, customers have enthusiastically adopted CC to meet their service needs (Zervas et al. 2017), but anecdotal evidence indicates significant shortages in the service supply. The number of U.S. Airbnb users is likely to reach 45.6 million in 2022; the number of Airbnb hosts was only 2.9 million in 2021. Increasing the number of service providers would benefit the sharing economy overall: It could attract more customers who seek more differentiated offerings, as well as prompt new listings on sharing platforms (Tucker and Zhang 2010). Thus, we need a better understanding of service providers’ sharing experience to shed light on ways to motivate their participation and active sharing.

    Against this backdrop, we aim to examine service providers’ (i.e., owners’) sharing experience from a paradox perspective (Smith and Lewis 2011; Zhang et al. 2015), as revealed through the concept of paradoxical sharing in CC contexts. That is, seemingly competing, yet interrelated elements exist and persist over time, such that they confront service providers simultaneously. In sum, this proposal integrates theories pertaining to psychological ownership and roles to:
    1. Empirically develop a multidimensional measure of the novel concept of paradoxical sharing.
    2. Investigate the effect of paradoxical sharing on service providers’ sharing experience and service outcomes by
    i. Examining owner–sharer role tension as an underlying mechanism that channels the impact of paradoxical sharing to service outcomes.
    ii. Testing a proposed, inverted U-shaped relationship of paradoxical sharing with role tension.
    3. Reveal conditions (provider, customer, and platform characteristics) that alter this curvilinear effect of paradoxical sharing on role tension.
    4. Examine the impacts of role tension on both objective and subjective service outcomes.

    This proposal represents a first attempt to develop the construct of paradoxical sharing in a CC context. Taking a peer service providers’ perspective also helps to gain a more comprehensive, and nuanced understanding of the value cocreation process in CC. Our results offer promising new directions for studying and adopting paradoxical sharing in other relevant contexts. We also shed new insights about the psychological mechanism of owner-sharer role tension. Parties engaging in CC have to be attentive to conditions in which the curvilinear effects of paradoxical sharing on role tension can be attenuated if they want to manage CC properly.
    Effective start/end date1/01/23 → …


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