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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Looking into the dark side of the triadic relationship in the sharing economy

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.02.02  Social sciences  Economics  Business sciences 

Code Science Field
S191  Social sciences  Market study 

Code Science Field
5.02  Social Sciences  Economics and Business 
Keywords
market, sharing economy, ethics, relationships, consumer behavior
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (11)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  24795  PhD Domen Bajde  Economics  Researcher  2019 - 2022  187 
2.  28909  PhD Barbara Culiberg  Economics  Head  2019 - 2022  118 
3.  24101  PhD Barbara Čater  Economics  Researcher  2019 - 2022  348 
4.  37928  Erna Emrić    Technical associate  2019 - 2020 
5.  51360  Petar Gidakovič  Economics  Researcher  2021 - 2022  53 
6.  52267  PhD Maja Golf Papež  Economics  Researcher  2020 - 2022  20 
7.  16007  PhD Tomaž Kolar  Economics  Researcher  2019 - 2022  331 
8.  24395  PhD Mateja Kos Koklič  Economics  Researcher  2019 - 2022  352 
9.  28012  PhD Katarina Katja Mihelič  Economics  Researcher  2019 - 2021  345 
10.  55139  Andreja Poljak    Technical associate  2021 - 2022 
11.  11462  PhD Irena Vida  Economics  Researcher  2019 - 2022  651 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0584  University of Ljubljana, School of Economics and Business (SEB)  Ljubljana  1626922  42,535 
Abstract
The project will delve into the ethical evaluations of others' misconduct in the sharing economy. While markets in the past were considered from a dyadic perspective (i.e. suppliers and consumers), the sharing economy brings about a triadic relationship, i.e. enablers (platforms, such as Uber and Airbnb), providers (i.e. drivers and hosts), and consumers (i.e. rider, guest). Consequently, the tensions among different players are growing and ethical misconduct is becoming more prevalent. Kumar et al. (2018) discovered that each side of the triad identified threats in the relationships. Consumers pointed out that providers were pushy and rude, or did not accurately depict the asset. Providers mentioned problematic relationships with platforms, which were related to insurance and unfair compensation. Finally, platforms had limited control over the quality of the service offered, which also had an impact on consumers and their perceptions. There are more and more studies on the sharing economy, however they mainly focus on the positive aspects of this phenomenon (see Benoit et al., 2017; Hamari et al., 2016; Mohlmann, 2015), therefore we will rather focus on its negative side. Because the number of participants in the sharing economy is growing, it is imperative to understand how they develop their evaluations of the questionable activities and, further on, how the evaluations affect their future decisions to participate, share, and communicate about it. The objective is to understand their ethical evaluations of others’ (i.e. consumers, providers, platforms) transgressions, the antecedents and outcomes of these evaluations in the sharing economy context. Considering the popularity of the sharing economy, it seems imperative to develop new models that would help explain: (1) how do users evaluate the disruptive behaviours of other participants (i.e. consumers, providers, platforms)? (2) what are the relational outcomes of user ethical evaluations of others and how do they interact? (3) how does ethics at different levels influence user ethical evaluations of others (i.e. consumers, providers, platforms)? (4) which factors from the ethical and relational theories moderate the relationships between the ethical antecedents, evaluations, and outcomes? (5) which groups of problematic users (consumers and providers) can we identify? In order to answer the proposed research questions, we will integrate ethical and relational theories and position them in the sharing economy domain. The project is divided into six work packages, while the key work packages in terms of content are WP2 to WP5. The second package will involve a netnography based on websites which connect sharing economy users who have shared their bad experiences (e.g. Airbnbhell.com). This package will be followed by a quantitative study on a sample of consumers (WP3) and providers (WP4), conducted in two countries (Slovenia and more developed). Using the data from the quantitative study, WP5 will involve a segmentation analysis of problematic users. Because the sharing economy works at the intersection of the formal and informal economy, the implications are multi-fold. The results of this research are relevant not only for companies who are engaged in the sharing economy, but – probably even more importantly – governments, municipalities and local communities who are trying to find a balance among different interests in the sharing economy and find solutions for the conflicts that are arising. The project’s results could help the regulators (e.g. states, cities, municipalities) in managing the relations among different players in the sharing economy. They could find new approaches to address these issues, not only by introducing new laws and regulations, but also through public policy campaigns. We could also offer companies guidelines and suggestions on how to tackle various types of misconducts and respond to them.
Significance for science
The research project could contribute to different research fields which have been integrated in this project, i.e. sharing economy, ethical decision-making and relationship theory. The proposed research is relevant for the following reasons. First, we will merge the knowledge on ethical decision-making and relationship exchanges in order to define the role ethics holds in the formation of trustworthy relationships. The original contribution is the proposed empirical model that simultaneously identifies the antecedents (multi-level ethics) and outcomes (e.g. trust, loyalty), thereby increasing the rigor of the body of literature on ethical evaluations. Second, the research will focus on users, i.e. both consumers and providers, since the latter have received much less attention (Huurne et al., 2017). Third, because of the lack of studies of the antecedents of ethical evaluations and following Cheng’s (2016) call we will introduce ethical antecedents at three levels: micro, mezzo, and macro. In this way, we will be able to identify what makes users more critical towards others’ transgressions, thereby contributing to the literature on the sharing economy and business ethics. Accordingly, the importance of ethics at different levels could be determined – whether all levels function equally or some are more important than others (Kadic-Magljajic et al. 2017). Forth, by linking ethical evaluations to trust and other behavioural outcomes related to other participants (i.e. other users and platform), we will try to demonstrate not only how impactful ethical evaluations can be for the businesses in the sharing economy, but also how important the other players are in the process. Seeing that the relationships in the sharing economy are much more complex, the outcomes of ethical evaluations need to be reconsidered to take into account the triadic relationship (Kumar et al., 2018). An original feature of this study is that the outcomes will be considered in parallel, as they can be related to either peers or platforms (for example, trust in peers vis-a-vis trust in platforms, loyalty towards peers vis-a-vis loyalty towards platforms, etc.). Following the calls to examine the moderators and mediators of ethical decision making (Lehnert et al., 2015), an original result will be the testing of the ethical and relational moderators in the ethical evaluation process. Finally, we will contribute to existing knowledge on jaycustomers by proposing a novel typology in the sharing economy setting. A major contribution of this project is that it initiates a discussion on the interconnectedness of ethical and relational theories. In terms of potential impact for future research development, the integration of different research fields in a novel and exciting setting, i.e. the sharing economy, provides a promising area of investigation. The multi-level ethical framework, based on multiple relationships, may ensure several future research opportunities, as it could be introduced to different industries (accommodation, transport, etc.), cultural contexts and ethical issues.
Significance for the country
The research project could contribute to different research fields which have been integrated in this project, i.e. sharing economy, ethical decision-making and relationship theory. The proposed research is relevant for the following reasons. First, we will merge the knowledge on ethical decision-making and relationship exchanges in order to define the role ethics holds in the formation of trustworthy relationships. The original contribution is the proposed empirical model that simultaneously identifies the antecedents (multi-level ethics) and outcomes (e.g. trust, loyalty), thereby increasing the rigor of the body of literature on ethical evaluations. Second, the research will focus on users, i.e. both consumers and providers, since the latter have received much less attention (Huurne et al., 2017). Third, because of the lack of studies of the antecedents of ethical evaluations and following Cheng’s (2016) call we will introduce ethical antecedents at three levels: micro, mezzo, and macro. In this way, we will be able to identify what makes users more critical towards others’ transgressions, thereby contributing to the literature on the sharing economy and business ethics. Accordingly, the importance of ethics at different levels could be determined – whether all levels function equally or some are more important than others (Kadic-Magljajic et al. 2017). Forth, by linking ethical evaluations to trust and other behavioural outcomes related to other participants (i.e. other users and platform), we will try to demonstrate not only how impactful ethical evaluations can be for the businesses in the sharing economy, but also how important the other players are in the process. Seeing that the relationships in the sharing economy are much more complex, the outcomes of ethical evaluations need to be reconsidered to take into account the triadic relationship (Kumar et al., 2018). An original feature of this study is that the outcomes will be considered in parallel, as they can be related to either peers or platforms (for example, trust in peers vis-a-vis trust in platforms, loyalty towards peers vis-a-vis loyalty towards platforms, etc.). Following the calls to examine the moderators and mediators of ethical decision making (Lehnert et al., 2015), an original result will be the testing of the ethical and relational moderators in the ethical evaluation process. Finally, we will contribute to existing knowledge on jaycustomers by proposing a novel typology in the sharing economy setting. A major contribution of this project is that it initiates a discussion on the interconnectedness of ethical and relational theories. In terms of potential impact for future research development, the integration of different research fields in a novel and exciting setting, i.e. the sharing economy, provides a promising area of investigation. The multi-level ethical framework, based on multiple relationships, may ensure several future research opportunities, as it could be introduced to different industries (accommodation, transport, etc.), cultural contexts and ethical issues.
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