No trust, no us : a study on interpersonal trust in collaborative lifestyles from a gender perspective

University essay from Högskolan Kristianstad/Sektionen för hälsa och samhälle

Abstract: A highly debated subject today is the high level of consumption, how to reduce it and how to start consuming more sustainably. One consequence is an economy based on sharing, or so-called collaborative consumption, which has become exceedingly popular. Grounded on the controversial topic of sustainability, it enables individuals to find alternative ways to consume, namely collaborative lifestyles. The purpose of this study is to explore how interpersonal trust affects engagement in collaborative lifestyles from a gender perspective. Different types of trust, interpersonal trust and online trust, as well as aspects of trust, risk and expectation, have been scrutinized. Empirical data was collected through a qualitative method using online focus groups. The findings show that different kinds of trust affect engagement in collaborative lifestyles. Although no generalization could be made between gender, an indication of gender differences was found in risk taking when engaging in collaborative lifestyle-services. Although interpersonal trust was not the most apparent factor, online trust was found to be of importance for the participants in general. In addition, we saw an indication of younger generations relying more on online trust than interpersonal trust. This study contributes with a greater understanding of consumer behavior in relation to collaborative lifestyles. This can in turn provide companies in the industry with knowledge about their consumers and therefore advantages in market positioning. 

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