An examination of online swapping and peer-to-peer renting : exploring the providers, takers, and non-users of collaborative consumption.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Purpose. With the advent of social media and advances in Peer-to-Peer (P2P) online platforms, the phenomena of Collaborative Consumption (CC) has been developing in the popular press as a socioeconomic revolution that veers away from individual hyper-consumption and embraces the efficiencies of sharing and collaboration. In light of this groundswell, this thesis examines how twosided digital platforms mediate the behaviour of peers in two CC website types: (1) swapping; and (2) renting. Methodology. An exploration of philosophy for a sociological imagination yields the creation of a Model of Theoretical Perspectives inspired by critical realism. Using these philosophical foundations, semi-structured interviews with members of swapping and renting websites are conducted under the lens of an exploratory, grounded theory approach that asks, “What do we have here?” Findings. The nature of the experience for swapping and renting users is explained by dimensionalising the field of Collaborative Consumption using thematic analysis. Six referential questions are applied to Bardhi and Eckhardt’s (2012) dimensions of access-based consumption: what (Type of Transferred Object), how (Consumer Involvement), when (Temporality), where (Spatial Anonymity), with whom (Interpersonal Anonymity), and why (Market Mediation and Political Consumerism). Contributions. The nature of the experiences derived from these activities and how they may differ between user types is discussed. Motivating and deterring factors behind CC activities (swapping and renting) are compared and contrasted between different user types (Providers, Takers, and Non-Users). Findings from this study have implications for the design, implementation, and management of systems that encourage barter-trade and access-based forms of Collaborative Consumption. In particular, five enabling factors have been identified to overcome the deterrents for using these types of websites. Finally, a reflection of contributions and suggestions for future research is also provided.