Collaborative Consumption: Power, Trust, and Cooperation

  • Hofmann, Eva (PI - Project head)
  • Hartl, Barbara (Researcher)
  • Marth, Sarah (Researcher)
  • Penz, Elfriede (Researcher)
  • Sabitzer, Thomas (Researcher)

Project Details


The current project aims to explain cooperative behavior in collaborative consumption. With collaborative consumption, consumers no longer own a good, but temporarily have access to this good (e.g., using car sharing or engaging in community gardens). Collaborative consumption can be presented as a real-life social dilemma in which individual interests contradict the community¿s interests. The new business models of collaborative consumption comprises new challenges for the market place, as businesses are blamed of not offering a standardized level of service and price and of lacking safeguards for customers. We differentiate three core collaborative consumption business models: (a) business-to-consumer models, (b) peer-to-peer exchange via one responsible individual, and (c) selfregulating communities without a distinct authority. We assume and have evidence that the different models are characterized by different kinds of power (coercive power and legitimate power) to prevent uncooperative behaviour by consumers and by different kinds of trust (implicit and reason-based trust) in providers as well as other users of the collaborative good. We use a multi-method approach investigating investigating (1) what kind of power and trust consumers perceive in collaborative consumption business models; (2) how the introduction of power affects trust, cooperation, and consumers¿ decision to engage in collaborative consumption actions; and (3) the impact of power in a real-life environment of collaborative consumption. This comprehensive research project will provide deeper insights for researchers as well as for needed recommendations for legislators.

Financing body

Austrian Science Fund
Effective start/end date1/05/1730/04/21

Collaborative partners