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Why Customers and Peer Service Providers do not Participate in Collaborative Consumption
Authors: Simon Hazée (HEC Liège, Belgium), Thijs Zwienenberg (KU Leuven), Yves Van Vaerenbergh (KU Leuven), Tine Faseur (KU Leuven)
Recent technologies and shifting customer needs fostered the emergence of a new business model called collaborative consumption (Benoit et al. 2017). Collaborative consumption, characterized by an intermediating digital platform facilitating exchanges among a network of actors (customers and peer service providers), is receiving significant attention. Yet despite its promising prospects, many firms have failed to build a critical mass of supply and demand for their collaborative business model (Andreassen et al. 2018). For instance, the accommodation sharing platform Stayzilla announced its closure in 2017 because of the difficulties to develop both market sides. The lack of adoption of collaborative consumption by both customers and peer service providers highlights the need to better understand the diffusion of this innovation.
Prior research provides relevant insights on the factors that drive customer acceptance of collaborative consumption (e.g., Guyader 2018). Yet, understanding the reasons why actors from both sides—customers and peer service providers—do not adopt collaborative consumption is equally important. Individuals disproportionally evaluate losses compared to benefits in their decision-making processes, and platforms must develop both sides to successfully compete in the collaborative economy. Accordingly, this research aims to develop a comprehensive framework capturing the barriers perceived by both customers and peer service providers that impede the diffusion of collaborative consumption.
Using a mixed-method qualitative approach—including 6 focus groups, 7 interviews, and 375 critical incidents—and integrating complementary literature, we propose a conceptual framework showing actors reject collaborative consumption because of a complex set of multidimensional functional and psychological barriers. In particular, actors may perceive barriers related to complexity, value, risks, compatibility, contamination, image, and responsibility, which prevent them from participating in collaborative consumption. With this effort, this research contributes in two main ways. First, by focusing on collaborative consumption, considered as a unique service innovation (Kumar et al. 2018), this study extends the research stream on innovation rejection, which has mainly focused on product (e.g., Heidenreich and Kraemer 2016) or dyadic service innovations involving B2C exchanges (e.g., Hazée et al. 2017). While some findings overlap with prior research, several other results seem to be specific to triadic business models like collaborative consumption. Second, this research addresses Andreassen et al.’s (2018) observation that insights into the barriers perceived by peer service providers remain limited, and accordingly contributes by providing a fine-grained analysis of the dual rejection of collaborative consumption. Given the growth of new work arrangements (Subramony et al. 2018), this study shows that peer service providers need to be attracted and managed differently from “regular” workers, as firms also need to help them overcome the barriers associated with this type of professional activity. Platform providers can use these findings to understand more fully actors’ decision making process in collaborative consumption.