The Theatrical Rules in Collaborative Consumption - A case of Airbnb

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Sammanfattning: Purpose: The study aims to advance the understanding of collaborative consumption through the research on the engagement rules, conventions, and norms that govern the practice. The study postulates that it is through the possession of the right competences and meaning that permit insiders to successfully apply the rules of collaborative consumption while deterring outsiders from making an initial or repeated attempt. The study’s intention is to shed light on the specific competences and meaning that are required by collaborative users to carry out these rules. Methodology: The study’s research philosophies relate to relativism and social constructionism. The research style follows that of structuration theory where insights on the consumer agency are derived from studying its structure. Netnography is used to capture rich data that exist within online social interactions where participants indicate and interpret their consumption ideologies. A hermeneutic approach, as a form of abductive research style that is both deductive with the help of existing theories as well as inductive by drawing inferences from qualitative data collected, is adopted. Theoretical Perspective: The study builds on two bodies of theoretical research: the first group documents the rise of collaborative consumption, and the second group consists of several classic cultural theories, namely Goffman’s concept of dramaturgy, Blumer’s symbolic interactionism, Swidler’s strategies of action and cultural competence, and Bourdieu’s habitus. They are used respectively to formulate the research purpose and guide the process of data analysis. The study extends the academic understanding of collaborative consumption by focusing on the rules, conventions, and norms that govern the practice as a research area that has been previously overlooked. Empirical Data: The empirical case chosen is Airbnb. The material collected are online social interactions from a community forum visited by users of Airbnb. Netnography is used to document rich data by capturing the languages used and behaviors inscribed by online users. The resulting data material that were downloaded, marked and analysed in digital copies amount to 183 discussions threads consisting of 1665 individual postings or comments contributed by about 330 users with an average of 5 postings per user. Conclusion: The study develops a tentative model for cultural analysis that can be applied to users of collaborative consumption to examine their willingness and ability to participate in the field. By researching the engagement rules, the study has elucidated four types of user motivation, three groups of cultural competences and two contexts of meaning interpretation. The interconnectedness of the three elements of motivation, competences, and meanings are holistically discussed to paint a clearer image of their functions and manifestations within collaborative consumption.

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