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Article

To Share or Not to Share: A Framework for Understanding Coworker Collaborative Consumption

Department of Management of Complex Systems, School of Engineering, University of California, 5200 North Lake Rd., Merced, CA 95343, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Merits 2023, 3(2), 318-331; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3020018
Received: 22 March 2023 / Revised: 24 April 2023 / Accepted: 26 April 2023 / Published: 30 April 2023

Abstract

:
We extend prior research by empirically demonstrating employees’ attitude–behavior gap when sharing goods and services with coworkers using platform technology. We also integrate theories on psychological ownership and territoriality in organizations with the theory of planned behavior and the technology acceptance model to develop an individual-level framework for understanding employees’ adoption of organization-sponsored sharing platforms, or lack thereof. Specifically, our abductive analysis of interview data from a field study illustrates how psychological ownership attitudes, sustainable consumption norms, and technology usability perceptions influence employees’ sharing motivations and intentions. Our findings and framework provide organizations with a roadmap for increasing employee engagement and corporate social responsibility through coworker collaborative consumption. Managers should promote sustainable consumption in their organization and strengthen related employee norms to facilitate the sharing of goods and services among coworkers, which helps build community at work. Managers should also ensure that the chosen organizational-sponsored sharing platforms are easy to use so that employees perceive this technology as useful and feel confident using it. The implementation of these strategies should enable organizations to successfully extend the sharing economy to the workplace. Future research could also leverage our contextualized construct definitions to develop survey measures for quantitatively testing and refining our framework.

1. Introduction

Through social networking afforded by digital platforms in the sharing economy, consumers today can directly exchange products and services with each other [1,2]. The technology-enabled sharing of material goods, known as collaborative consumption [3], offers environmentally conscious consumers a way to decrease their ecological footprint [2,4,5,6]. Recent empirical research [7,8] also highlights how organization-sponsored sharing platforms enable employees to exchange goods and services with coworkers in a private online community, thereby extending the sharing economy to the workplace. These platforms “leverage and integrate employees’ roles as consumers and providers (“prosumers”) in working environments and therefore offer a new way to build employee engagement, which is strategically important to all types of organizations” [7] (p. 109).
Organizations, however, have yet to fully realize the potential for collaborative consumption to increase employee engagement and corporate social responsibility [7,8]. Although coworker collaborative consumption can increase trust and organizational citizenship behavior among employees [9], getting employees to actively use an organization-sponsored sharing platform is not an easy task [7]. Even though most employees are positively predisposed to consuming collaboratively with coworkers [7,9,10], getting them to act according to these attitudes is dependent on employers enacting dialectic management strategies to resolve the conflicting institutional logics of organization-sponsored sharing platforms [10].
In this paper, we further investigate this attitude–behavior gap of employees when socially exchanging products and services using platform technology. Integrating prior research on the sharing economy with the theory of planned behavior [11] and the technology acceptance model [12], we first identify individual-level constructs that are likely to explain collaborative consumption among coworkers. Then, to develop our theoretical framework, we contextualize and relate these constructs using interview data from a field study of an organization-sponsored sharing platform. Our qualitative analysis sheds light on when employees are likely to share goods and services with coworkers, and when they are not. We conclude by discussing our findings and practical implications for managers and organizations.

2. Coworker Collaborative Consumption

Collaborative consumption is the peer-to-peer consumer exchange of material goods enabled by digital platforms in the sharing economy [3]. By circulating their possessions for others to use, as well as using others’ belongings, consumers engage in the act and process of sharing [13]. Sharing has been the most basic form of economic distribution in societies for thousands of years [14]. It is non-reciprocal, pro-social behavior [15] that connects people and creates feelings of collective bonding and solidarity [16,17]. Sharing encourages collaboration by influencing others to be generous and selfless [18]. Within a group of people, sharing creates and recreates community [19], thereby manifesting the commons in a sharing economy [20]. Even when interacting with unseen and unknown others, the act of sharing connotes interdependence, community, trust, selflessness, giving, and caring [17].
One type of sharing, which is called “sharing-in” [16], is prototypical within a family where material goods are perceived as owned in common. Members of a family do not ask for permission to use kitchen appliances, turn on the lights, or take a bath. In other words, things that are shared by family members are considered joint possessions. Sharing-in generates no reciprocity or debt because no one is keeping track of members’ individual consumption or trying to strike a balance between giving and taking [21]. However, sharing-in does obligate family members to take care of their common property, which includes not overusing or damaging shared goods, so that they are left in a similar state of readiness for another family member to use.
Coworker collaborative consumption resembles sharing-in because employers typically pay for the goods and services used by employees to perform their work, including technology access to an organization-sponsored sharing platform and any related transaction fees [9]. Employees are also expected to take care of organization-owned assets so that these goods are ready for use by coworkers and not damaged by negligence. However, most organization-owned assets are assigned to and possessed by individual employees, which can lead to territoriality stemming from psychological ownership [22,23]. Coworkers must request permission to borrow and/or use these organization-owned assets from the employees who control them. In contrast, organization-owned assets that are stored in common areas and open spaces can usually be used by any employee.
Coworkers who consume resources collaboratively using an organization-sponsored sharing platform have both citizen and consumer motives [9]. Similarly, consumers in the sharing economy have pro-social and materialistic motivations [24]. Many are seeking alternative ways to consume because they are critical of capitalism, market operations, and structured economies [25]. The authors of [26] argue that individuals might be inclined to consume more sustainably when they see other people participating in such behavior. However, when information about normative sustainable consumption is not widely available, the sharing of goods and services is often motivated by just economic gains [4].

3. Sharing Attitude–Behavior Gap

Regardless of why people may be predisposed to sharing, empirical research on collaborative consumption among consumers [2,27] and coworkers [7,9,10] substantiates the existence of an attitude–behavior gap [11]. In other words, individuals’ positive attitudes and behavioral intentions regarding collaborative consumption do not always translate into actual sharing behavior [4]. In the case of consumers, this sharing attitude–behavior gap may be due to a “crowding-out” effect over time wherein extrinsic motivational factors (e.g., social status) override initial intrinsic ones (e.g., citizenship) [28]. However, when it comes to collaborative consumption in organizations, an attitude–behavior gap may reflect employees’ perceived risks of sharing goods with coworkers [9].
Attitude–behavior gaps are explained by the theory of planned behavior (TPB) [11], which is based on the theory of reasoned action [29], self-efficacy theory [30], and expectancy theory [31]. TPB suggests that the inconsistency between an individual’s behavioral intentions and subsequent behavior can be explained by their attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control. When it comes to technology-mediated environments, the technology acceptance model (TAM) [32] extends TPB to explain the attitude–behavior gaps related to the use of information systems such as digital platforms. TAM accounts for the perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness of technology to understand why individuals may not use information systems. We, therefore, leverage both TPB and TAM constructs to theoretically explain coworkers’ attitude–behavior gap when consuming collaboratively using an organization-sponsored sharing platform.

3.1. Attitudes: Psychological Ownership

Psychological ownership, which includes both affective and cognitive attitudes [32,33], influences peer-to-peer sharing behavior [22,34,35]. An individual develops psychological ownership of a tangible or intangible thing when it enhances their sense of efficacy, identity, and/or place [22,32]. Furthermore, they can have possessive attitudes [36,37], which are reflected in commonly used phrases such as, “this is my car” or “that is my office”, regardless of whether they legally own the associated object or space [38].
Psychological ownership may negatively impact collaborative consumption if individuals’ attachment to objects and spaces in their possession induces a territorial response to protect and limit others’ access to these assets [23,38,39]. On the other hand, the psychological ownership of an organization can lead to a variety of constructive behaviors [40,41] such as increased personal sacrifice, felt responsibility, and organizational citizenship [37,42,43,44,45]. Additionally, employees who feel psychological ownership towards their employer may perceive themselves as organizational stewards [46] and increase coworkers’ access to their possessed objects and spaces if this collaborative consumption is beneficial to their organization [32].
Functional attachment. Some consumers develop a functional attachment to a material good based on its perceived usefulness [47]. They tend to appreciate an object for its utility (e.g., protection and shelter) and the resources used in its production (e.g., raw materials and human energy). For these individuals, goods are valuable because they fulfill a need rather than a desire and not because they represent economic or social status [48,49] or an extended self [50]. People who are functionally attached to material goods experience joy and personal satisfaction when they share them with others because they believe that this type of sustainable consumption extends the usefulness of goods [47]. Therefore, employees who are functionally attached to objects and spaces in their workplace should be inclined to share them with coworkers.
Possessive attachment. Employees may, however, develop possessive feelings towards tangible or intangible objects [42,51] that they legally own or not [38]. Such possessive attachment is often coupled with feelings of mastery and control [52], which are characteristics of materialism [53]. An individual who develops a possessive attachment to a material good may be reluctant to share it with others and will instead seek to control and protect it [32]. Therefore, possessive attachment should impede coworker collaborative consumption in organizations. However, studies on brand communities [54,55] indicate that possessive attachment and collaborative consumption may be reinforcing and compatible [16]. Therefore, employees who belong to brand communities may find that their possessive attachment is enhanced by the act of sharing goods with coworkers who admire the same brand.
Community attachment. Employees who perceive themselves as part of a work community often act as stewards of it [46]. They engage in organizational citizenship behavior and coworker collaborative consumption, which they perceive to be a culturally normative, pro-social activity [9]. Community attachment should, therefore, enhance coworker collaborative consumption in organizations.

3.2. Subjective Norms: Sustainable Consumption

Aside from psychological ownership attitudes, subjective norms also influence individual behavior. Perceived social pressure to perform expected behaviors constitutes a subjective norm [11], and empirical research in many different contexts has demonstrated that individuals act in accordance with the behavioral expectations of subjective norms [11,56]. Therefore, we now review the literature on three specific subjective norms that should induce coworkers to consume collaboratively.
Pro-environmental behavior. According to [57], pro-environmental behaviors reflect an individual’s self-interest and concern for their surroundings, the next generation, other species, and/or whole ecosystems. Such behaviors include the reduced consumption and recycling of material goods, water and energy conservation, and the use of transportation with low/no emissions. Engagement in pro-environmental behaviors “that harm the natural environment as little as possible or even benefit the environment” [58] (p. 309) reflects an individual’s subjective norm for sustainable consumption. Therefore, employees who engage in pro-environmental behaviors should be positively predisposed to coworker collaborative consumption.
Sharing economy participation. According to [1], participation in the sharing economy also indicates a subjective norm for sustainable consumption. People who engage in sustainable behavior feel obligated to help and share with others [5,6]. Employees, in particular, have both citizen and consumer motives when engaging in coworker collaborative consumption [9]. Therefore, those who have previously participated in the broader sharing economy should be more likely to consume collaboratively with coworkers.
Organizational culture. Employees also learn about subjective norms for sustainable consumption through their organization’s culture, which is the shared basic assumptions of coworkers about the right way to solve internal, external, and environmental problems [59]. Each organization’s culture is unique and develops over time to reflect the visible and invisible dimensions of its collective identity [60]. The visible dimension of culture is represented in the organization’s mission, goals, and values, whereas the invisible dimension of culture is reflected in employees’ perceptions and actions. Prior research indicates that coworker collaborative consumption is higher in organizations that offer employees multiple options for sustainable consumption than in those that promote only a few options [10]. Therefore, employees should be more likely to engage in coworker collaborative consumption if they perceive that there are subjective norms to do so in their organization.

3.3. Usability Perceptions: Technology Adoption

In addition to attitudes and subjective norms, employees’ perceptions of a sharing platform’s technology can also influence their engagement in coworker collaborative consumption. Technology usability is defined as users’ effectiveness, satisfaction, and efficiency in achieving identified goals in a specific technological context of use [61]. Technology usability is correlated with decreased cognitive and physical burdens for users and hence increased usage of technology [62]. We now review the literature on the perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness of technology because these TAM [32] constructs explain the attitude–behavior gaps related to the use of information systems such as an organization-sponsored sharing platform. We also discuss perceived behavioral control, which is a TPB [11] construct, because it has been shown to predict individuals’ technology adoption [63].
Perceived usefulness and ease of use. When examining how technology usability influences individual behavior, perceived usefulness and ease of use are well-known constructs that predict individuals’ adoption of information systems [64,65]. According to [32], perceived usefulness is the degree to which an individual believes that his or her job performance would be enhanced by a particular information system. The perceived ease of use, on the other hand, is the degree to which an individual believes that using an information system would be effort-free. The authors of [32] also argue that perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use are correlated; the easier it is to use technology, the more useful it will be. In fact, prior research [66] indicates that there is a direct relationship between perceived usefulness and employees’ intention to participate in online travel communities sponsored by their employing organization. Therefore, employees should be more likely to consume collaboratively using an organization-sponsored sharing platform if they perceive it to be useful and easy to use.
Perceived behavioral control. Perceived behavioral control reflects whether an individual believes that they have access to the resources and opportunities necessary to perform an action [11], which is a measure of their self-efficacy [67]. Perceived behavioral control, therefore, captures an individual’s concerns about internal and external factors that may hinder their use of information systems. In fact, a recent study by [68] found that perceived behavioral control influences consumers’ intention to adopt sharing economy platforms. Therefore, employees should be more likely to consume collaboratively using an organization-sponsored sharing platform if their perceived behavioral control is sufficiently high.

4. Materials and Methods

Having identified the key constructs from prior research that could explain collaborative consumption among coworkers using an organization-sponsored sharing platform, we now describe the interview data that we analyzed to develop our theoretical framework. These data were collected during the same field study described by [9] but were not included in their published results.
Organizational sample. For this field study, an organization-sponsored sharing platform was piloted at a U.S. public university with a strong commitment to campus sustainability and community engagement. The university had a complex organizational hierarchy consisting of many departments and functions across multiple buildings and locations, which resembled the matrix structures and organizational dynamics of large corporations. Among the university’s approximately 1700 employees, 54% were female, 24% were faculty, 67% were staff, and 9% were in other academic positions. In terms of ethnicity, the two largest groups were White (50%) and Hispanic (23%). The study was approved by the university’s Institutional Review Board, and participants consented to share their de-identified interviews and survey responses for subsequent research such as ours.
Platform technology. The piloted organization-sponsored sharing platform consisted of two mobile applications designed to enable all university employees to engage in sharing exchanges with coworkers. The Share@Home mobile application facilitated employees’ sharing of goods and services for personal use. The Share@Work mobile application facilitated employees’ sharing of goods and services for professional use. Both mobile applications recorded users’ logins, messages, and sharing exchanges, as well as any data that users inputted or deleted about their goods, services, and profile. These mobile applications did not store any location or search data and did not have reputation or performance ratings.
To use either of these mobile applications, employees had to first authenticate themselves using the university’s single sign-on system, and then accept the study consent form, and finally agree to the technology provider’s terms of use. Afterward, employees could set up a profile with their contact information; a profile photo was recommended but optional. No money was exchanged when lending goods or volunteering services via the two mobile applications; all items were shared for free. To offer a good or service on these mobile applications, employees had to provide descriptive information and calendar availability for the item and upload at least one photo. When deciding what to offer, employees could review and respond to coworkers’ posted needs or just list a good or service that they felt comfortable sharing. To find what they needed or to browse the listed goods and services, employees could scroll through newly offered items or conduct an item search by keyword or category. They could anonymously message coworkers who were offering items that interested them; these coworkers were also anonymous to them. They could also post a need for a good or a service that was not currently offered. When an employee submitted a request for a good or service using either of the two mobile applications, the platform sent a push notification to the coworker who had offered to share it. This coworker could review the employee’s profile information, as well as their requested start and end dates plus exchange location. If the coworker denied their sharing request, the employee received a push notification of this decision, but the coworker remained anonymous. If their sharing request was accepted, the employee received a push notification and gained access to the coworker’s profile information for coordinating the scheduled exchange. As sharing exchanges progressed over time, the platform sent both the employee and the coworker push notifications and status updates, including reminders of scheduled meetups and prompts to confirm completed actions (e.g., good was picked up, service has started).
Interview data. To gain insights from early users of this platform, the research team emailed a survey to all 35 university employees who had registered to use the Share@Home and/or Share@Work mobile applications during the first two months of the study. They were also invited to participate in an individual interview with the research team. Only 1 employee had taken the survey after three days, so the research team forwarded their original email with a personalized message to the other 34 employees. This second email included the employee’s name, a statement emphasizing the importance of their insights, and a clarification that interviews would be conducted remotely using Zoom software.
A total of seven employees (20% of early users) completed the survey and were interviewed within four weeks of the original email invitation. They were interviewed by a research team member who used the same semi-structured protocol to probe how these early users came to use the mobile application(s), their technical and interpersonal experiences, their attitudes about risk and trust, and suggested improvements for the platform technology. After confirming consent and allowing the employee to ask any questions, the research team member turned off the Zoom video functionality and began audio recording the interview. On average, each interview lasted 33 min, with a range from 19 to 46 min. Each recorded interview was transcribed, and transcripts were stripped of any personal identifying information. All 7 employees were thanked via email and scheduled to receive their USD 20 cash compensation; one refused to accept this payment. We used these interview data to qualitatively contextualize our identified constructs and develop our theoretical framework for explaining collaborative consumption among coworkers using an organization-sponsored sharing platform.
Qualitative analysis. We adopted an abductive approach [69] to analyze the early user interviews. Abduction is a process of iteratively going back and forth between theory and data to arrive at new insights that are both empirically and theoretically grounded [70,71,72,73]. We first sketched out a model reflecting our initial hunches for how the identified constructs might predict collaborative consumption among coworkers. We then developed definitions for each construct within the university study context. Next, we used these initial contextualized construct definitions to create a codebook for analyzing the early user interviews. As we individually analyzed these qualitative data, we had many in-depth discussions on how interview quotes should be coded, which led to further refinement of our construct definitions. Our codebook was, therefore, updated on multiple occasions when we agreed to revise construct definitions during the discursive and iterative process of analyzing interviews. Our contextualized construct definitions with exemplar interview quotes are shown in Table 1.

5. Results

The insights derived from our qualitative analysis helped us to develop our theoretical framework for coworker collaborative consumption using an organization-sponsored sharing platform, which is depicted in Figure 1. This framework provides an explanation for employees’ attitude–behavior gap when sharing material goods by illustrating how psychological ownership attitudes, sustainable consumption norms, and technology usability perceptions influence coworker collaborative consumption.

5.1. Psychological Ownership Attitudes

We found that employees’ attitudes and beliefs about consuming collaboratively with coworkers were influenced by their possessive and functional attachment to material goods, as well as their attachment to the university community.
Although functional attachment was scarcely mentioned in our interview data, it had a positive effect on employees’ sharing motivations and intentions when it was present. Employees had a functional attachment to items irrespective of whether they were for personal or professional use.
If somebody needs to use a fiber fusion slicer, I have one. It’s in my cabinet down in the lab and it’s something that we use regularly. It’s just a tool for us, but it’s a twenty thousand dollar tool and somebody else who has a, you know, a laser that they use in there, you know, their microscope and somebody broke the fiber, right, I mean we can splice it, it takes two minutes they’d be back up and going, you know? Instead of calling Nikon to fix the microscope. So that just seemed to me to be something that was... had such a huge upside benefit
(#150EU)
Possessive attachment, on the other hand, had a negative effect on employees’ sharing motivations and intentions. It manifested as employees’ mastery and protectiveness of material goods. Employees displayed possessive attachment to personal and work-related items of high financial and sentimental value.
I have like this really nice mixer for the kitchen, that’s something I would only lend to people that I knew personally
(#507EU)
Community attachment was most frequently mentioned in our interview data as a reason for engaging in goods sharing with coworkers. Employees expressed genuine concern for the welfare of coworkers and the university. They were also trusting of coworkers despite the risk of shared items being damaged or stolen.
I wanted to accomplish being a good neighbor
(#150EU)

5.2. Sustainable Consumption Norms

Subjective norms for sustainable consumption were demonstrated by employees’ engagement in pro-environmental behaviors and the sharing economy along with their perception of whether the university supported coworker collaborative consumption. Not surprisingly, employees who were environmentally conscious and already engaged in the sharing economy were more likely to share goods with coworkers.
I am a person who is very conscientious about recycling about you know trying to minimize how much stuff I throw away. I do a lot of taking stuff to the secondhand stores, or Goodwill, or Salvation Army so others can use things
(#134EU)
I just stayed in a couple of Airbnbs over the weekend, so I think it’s kind of that similar social contract that you’re entering in the sharing economy that we’re in now
(#507EU)
Some employees believed that the university would encourage goods sharing, whereas others thought there was room for improvement in its sustainability practices.
Well, I think it’s a good community. I think we have a pretty good understanding of sustainability. And I think if the culture is right then our campus will invite us to do that… I think we have that culture
(#174EU)
I think there’s lots of room for improvement on like sustainability and, you know like not wasting, and I think any tools that contribute to that are welcome and needed
(#507EU)

5.3. Technology Usability Perceptions

Employees’ perceptions of the Share@Home and Share@Work mobile applications also influenced their motivations and intentions to consume collaboratively with coworkers. Those that had a positive user experience perceived the platform technology as being easy to use.
I thought it was pretty intuitive, pretty simple which was good for me. I’m older so trying to dig through and find where you’re supposed to do things can be tricky sometimes
(#518EU)
Most employees had positive experiences using the two mobile applications to share goods with coworkers. They perceived the platform technology as facilitating coworker connections and creating consumer value.
I think it lowers the barrier to asking people for help
(#510EU)
Well, I think the app is a really good way to get to people to find the stuff because you’ve got someplace to go. Otherwise, you’d just be searching on like well I guess through Facebook or whatever like the marketplace and all those other things. But I think the app is good place so long as people know about it
(#515EU)
However, some employees emphasized that the functionality and user interface of these mobile applications could be improved.
I feel like it’s still again it’s still in progress... It’s not really, I mean it’s there, it’s usable, but it’s not it’s not at an A grade yet
(#510EU)
Additionally, we found that employees’ perceived behavioral control when using these mobile applications influenced their motivations and intentions to consume collaboratively with coworkers. Those that lacked experience using the platform technology or needed more information were hesitant to engage.
I don’t feel confident responding or posting on the app because I haven’t done it. I’m not sure what it would involve
(#518EU)
I didn’t want to violate policy and I got to check with my director too and make sure that it’s going to be OK with him
(#518EU)

5.4. Coworker Collaborative Consumption

Employees perceived financial and efficiency benefits in sharing goods.
It’d be nice to be able to have those kind of shared things around tools that one group uses a lot, that another group might need to use just once or twice. That might really, you know, save them a ton of money and time
(#150EU)
Others were simply curious and enjoyed browsing through the goods available on the two mobile applications.
It makes it more like shopping for other stuff
(#507EU)
A few even framed their engagement with the platform technology and sharing of goods with coworkers as forwarding the university’s mission.
I thought it was a good way of supporting research
(#174EU)

6. Conclusions

By abductively analyzing interview data from a field study, we integrated theories on psychological ownership [33] and territoriality [73] in organizations with the theory of planned behavior [11] and the technology acceptance model [12] to develop an individual-level framework for understanding employees’ adoption of organization-sponsored sharing platforms, or lack thereof. Our framework explains why getting employees to actively use an organization-sponsored sharing platform is not an easy task [7] even though coworker collaborative consumption can increase trust and organizational citizenship behavior among them [9].
Our qualitative findings extend prior research on coworker collaborative consumption [7,8,9,10] by empirically demonstrating employees’ attitude–behavior gap when sharing goods and services with coworkers using platform technology. Our data highlight individual-level factors that influence employees’ adoption of an organization-sponsored sharing platform, extending prior research [8,10] that has primarily focused on organizational-level factors. Specifically, we illustrated how employees’ psychological ownership attitudes, sustainable consumption norms, and technology usability perceptions influence their sharing motivations and intentions. Future studies could leverage our contextualized definitions of these individual-level constructs to develop survey measures to quantitatively test and refine our framework.
Although organizations have yet to fully realize the potential for collaborative consumption to increase employee engagement and corporate social responsibility [7,8], our findings and framework provide employers with a roadmap to achieve this goal. Managers should promote sustainable consumption in their organization and strengthen related employee norms to facilitate the sharing of goods and services among coworkers, which helps build community at work. Managers should also ensure that chosen organizational-sponsored sharing platforms are easy to use so that employees perceive this technology as useful and feel confident using it. The implementation of these strategies should enable organizations to successfully extend the sharing economy to the workplace by addressing employees’ attitude–behavior gap when socially exchanging products and services using platform technology.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, A.D.B. and C.T.; methodology, A.D.B. and C.T.; data collection, A.D.B.; data analysis, A.D.B. and C.T.; writing—original draft preparation, C.T.; writing—review and editing, A.D.B.; project administration and supervision, A.D.B. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Funding

This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of California, Merced(IRB UCM2018-116).

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

Data Availability Statement

The data presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Figure 1. A framework for understanding coworker collaborative consumption.
Figure 1. A framework for understanding coworker collaborative consumption.
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Table 1. Contextualized construct definitions with exemplar interview quotes.
Table 1. Contextualized construct definitions with exemplar interview quotes.
ConstructDefinitionExemplar Quote
Psychological Ownership Attitudes
Functional AttachmentAn attitude about the usefulness and performance of goods often because they fulfill a need.We have some old iPads, and there’s no reason somebody else couldn’t use them. They work fine, just they’re like first generation, so my program doesn’t work on them anymore. We just weren’t getting much use from them (#518EU)
Possessive Attachment –
Protectiveness
The intention or act of securing or enhancing their possession of a good.I wouldn’t lend something that is so important to me (#150EU)
I worry a little bit about things getting broken (#150EU)
Possessive Attachment –
Mastery
The intention or act of exerting command, authority, or control of a good.It is a laboratory setting and you want to control access a little bit to your research spaces because there’s valuable equipment in there (#150EU)
Community Attachment –
Belonging
A desire or willingness to remain at the university due to a strong attachment to the organization.This is a campus that still feels like family even though it’s grown a lot in the last 11 years I’ve been here (#510EU)
Community Attachment –
Citizenship
A desire or willingness to contribute to the well-being of the university or coworkers often through voluntary or extra role efforts.I wanted to support the process… wanted to show my support (#507EU)
Sustainable Consumption Norms
Pro-Environmental
Behavior
Prior or current personal actions that demonstrate a concern for the environment such as recycling and compostingYeah, we tried not to buy waste, things that we need, not wasteful things (#518EU)
Organizational CultureThe perception or experience of collaborative consumption or other pro-environmental behavior being normal and/or expected at the universityIt’s still not like a common thing everyone does necessarily (#507EU)
I feel like that is very emblematic of our campus, and this could also be just very representative of our campus and the whole collaborative nature of this campus, which I do feel is part of the campus personality or DNA if you will (#510EU)
Sharing Economy
Participation
Prior or current personal engagement in collaborative consumption platforms such as ridesharing or renting consumer goodsI use other websites such as Freecycle and Buy Nothing and other similar applications or communities that you know help in making this possible. So, I see this as entirely possible (#174EU)
Technology Usability Perceptions
Perceived Ease of UseThe perception or experience of being able to easily use the mobile appsIt is easy to navigate. It just offers a pretty simple way of seeing what’s needed (#174EU)
Perceived UsefulnessThe perception or experience of the mobile apps fulfilling a need, function, or desireWell, I think the app is a really good way to get to people to find the stuff because you’ve got someplace to go (#515EU)
I thought they were both useful apps to have in my phone and that it would provide good information and things for my daily life essentially (#174EU)
Perceived Behavioral
Control
The perception of having sufficient opportunities, required resources, and necessary information to use the mobile appsWhat has kind of held me back from doing that, because I don’t know who... if they take a sign and something happens, I don’t know who’s responsible (#515EU)
Coworker Collaborative Consumption
Employee Sharing –
Intentions
An expectation of granting or requesting access to goods and services to/from coworkersI looked through it to see if there was anything needed that I had. now I want to see what people are offering (#510EU)
Employee Sharing –
Motivations
A reason why an employee is willing to share goods and services with coworkersIt’s better than having to pay or buy it, pay to rent it or buy it (#515EU)
It’s just one more way to serve the campus community, save people money (#510EU)
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Touma, C.; Bhappu, A.D. To Share or Not to Share: A Framework for Understanding Coworker Collaborative Consumption. Merits 2023, 3, 318-331. https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3020018

AMA Style

Touma C, Bhappu AD. To Share or Not to Share: A Framework for Understanding Coworker Collaborative Consumption. Merits. 2023; 3(2):318-331. https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3020018

Chicago/Turabian Style

Touma, Charles, and Anita D. Bhappu. 2023. "To Share or Not to Share: A Framework for Understanding Coworker Collaborative Consumption" Merits 3, no. 2: 318-331. https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3020018

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