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The Importance of Environmental Sustainability in the Decision to Participate in the Sharing Economy
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Global warming, increasing greenhouse gases emissions, global pollution, exhaustion of natural resources... Those are all consequences of human activities on the environment. Today's world is facing major environmental challenges and sustainability has become a burning topic during the last decades. In our consumption-focused society, the concept of the sharing economy has emerged as an alternative to existing consumption patterns. Advocating the "use rather than own" principle, this concept has a true potential in terms of changing the way we consume and produce to lead to more sustainable behaviors.

Current literature has investigated the motivations influencing the decision to participate in the sharing economy. Three main motivations have been highlighted: economic, social and environmental. Indeed, the sharing economy offers the possibility to save or make money, strengthen social ties and reduce one's ecological impact. Even though the environmental aspect plays a part in the decision-making process, it is unclear whether it is a determining factor or only a secondary concern. Thus, our study aims at developing an in-depth understanding of the motivations that drive people's participation in the sharing economy and the role of environmental sustainability. To fulfill that purpose, we have formulated the following research question: How important is environmental sustainability among the motivations to participate in the peer-to-peer sharing economy?

To answer our research question, we conducted a qualitative study. We interviewed six French users of the collaborative carpooling platform Blablacar. Questions about the sharing economy in general and use of this specific platform were asked. These interviews allowed us to understand users' perceptions and attitudes towards the sharing economy and to make the connection with the environmental motivation.

Our findings reveal that the environmental motivation exists and is part of the decision- making process. We could note a behavior change as the willingness to use collaborative platforms in the future is increasing. At the same time, a growing environmental consciousness has been expressed. However, the economic motivation still strongly prevails over the environmental and social motivations to engage in sharing activities. This observation leads us to conclude about the uncertain future of the sharing economy as a more sustainable consumption pattern. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 54 p.
Keyword [en]
sharing economy, sustainability, motivations, collaborative platforms, carpooling, environmental challenges
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-137425OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-137425DiVA: diva2:1118594
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-07-03 Created: 2017-06-30 Last updated: 2017-07-03Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf