Exploring motivations to engage in collaborative consumption: Case: Facebook recycling group

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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In recent years, there has been a significant change in how people consume. New collaborative business models emerge and flourish all around the world. Their success is due to many simultaneous changes in the society. For example, people have become increasingly sensitive to issues related to scarce natural resources. The global financial and economic crisis has encouraged individuals to seek alternative ways to consume. And most importantly, major technological advances have enabled the omnipresence of the Internet and related technologies in our everyday lives. Collaborative consumption is no longer a hype; it has grown to become a global phenomenon with an extremely fast growth rate. According to experts, economies are shifting further towards collaborative models. Yet, there is a discrepancy between research and the real world phenomenon. Therefore, this thesis addresses this gap in the academic discussion. This master's thesis describes and offers further insights to understanding collaborative consumption and more specifically its second dimension, the subcategory of peer-to-peer redistribution markets. Major theoretical contributions include the introduction of a new scale to measure the liquid relationship to possessions. In addition, the thesis brings the research of collaborative consumption to a new context in Finland. The study answers the research questions 'What kind of motivations do people have to participate in collaborative consumption in online sharing and recycling communities?' and 'What kind of different participant groups can be identified among the users of these online communities?'. Motivational factors were identified from existing literature and in March 2015 data was collected through a survey among the users of Facebook sharing and recycling groups in Helsinki (n=442). Quantitative methods such as factor and cluster analysis were used to process the data. The results indicate that four distinctive user groups can be identified; Accumulators, Utility seekers, Enthusiasts and Materialists. All of the groups emphasize the identified ten motivational factors differently and in various combinations. This research both confirms and challenges some of the findings of previous literature. For example, the fact that all four user groups scored high on green consumer values, while none of them were found to emphasize green consumer values as a primary motivation to participate, offers support for previous findings. The findings of the thesis result in significant managerial implications for both commercial and non-commercial actors, operating both in Facebook and on other platforms. Understanding the various motivations of the consumers helps the actors to better target their offering. The thesis also provides many research suggestions to further explore this highly current and interesting topic.
collaborative consumption, redistribution markets, sharing economy, motivations, recycling, Facebook, liquid relationship to possessions, vertaiskauppa, jakamistalous, motiviit, kierrätys
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