Exploring Trust in Collaborative Consumption

Matteo Colombo & Michael Toft

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


Collaborative consumption is a rapidly growing socio-economic phenomenon that involves peer-to-peer exchanges mediated by online platforms. Trust is acknowledged to be a fundamental aspect when individuals engage in collaborative consumption, because the exchanges usually occur among strangers. This thesis has two main purposes. First, to explore why and how trust is established when consumers engage in collaborative consumption. Second, to examine how trust differs depending on consumer motives to engage in collaborative consumption. An explorative study was conducted based on 21 semi-structured interviews with respondents using peer-to-peer accommodation sharing platforms.
We find that consumers have different reasons and modes to establish trust. Consumers place their trust in two main objects, companies or individuals, and assess the trustworthiness of such objects through a wide array of sources. This assessment is influenced by several contextual perceptions that make the formation of trust a dynamic process that depends on the personal experiences and the risk perceptions of individuals. The mindset of consumers, which is shaped by their basic trust in people, risk attitude and attitude towards collaborative consumption, furthermore affects why and how trust is built. We also find that consumer motives to engage in collaborative consumption frame the reasons and the modes in which people establish trust and perceive risks. In particular, we outline a conceptual framework with three idealised consumer archetypes that present trust-related characteristics in relation to utilitarian, experiential and social motives to engage in collaborative consumption.
The insights of this study provide a holistic and consumer-centric perspective on trust in collaborative consumption. We present a theoretical foundation for academics to reconsider and improve conceptual research models. Companies can employ these insights to foster and manage trustful relationships both among users and between consumers and their brands. We also suggest directions for future research and especially encourage to further investigate the relationship between trust and consumer motives.

UddannelserCand.merc.bcm Brand and Communications Management, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
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