Quotation Sabitzer, Thomas, Hartl, Barbara, Marth, Sarah, Hofmann, Eva, Penz, Elfriede. 2018. Preventing Conflicts in Sharing Communities as a Means of Promoting Sustainability. Sustainability. 10 (8), 1-24.




The sharing economy is a new promising trend with many positive outcomes on society and the environment, as it provides potential for sustainable solutions due to the reduction of resource consumption and less waste. However, research and practice show that sharing comes with its own share of problems. People often act selfishly, and in worst-case scenarios try to take advantage of others without contributing to the shared good. To achieve the higher goal of sustainability, it is important that conflicts in the sharing economy are prevented, and a setting is achieved that allows people to easily behave in a cooperative and sustainable way. The present research examines which conflicts emerge in sharing communities (study 1) and community gardens in particular (study 2), and whether regulation can prevent conflicts in large groups. Two exploratory studies were conducted. First, a qualitative study with consumers and non-consumers of the sharing economy revealed that regulatory systems are perceived as important for preventing the exploitation of other community members, but also that cooperation should not be enforced with strict controls and punishment. Rather, problems should be discussed in a democratic group setting, rules and goals should be set up together, and trust should be built. Second, a questionnaire study with community gardeners in Austria confirmed these results, and showed that trust is related to less conflict in community gardens, while harsh forms of regulation are related to a potential for greater conflict. Additionally, the results indicate that soft forms of regulation are related to fewer relationship and task conflicts, better conflict resolutions, a high sense of community, and greater trust in the community. We then discuss how these findings can be used to regulate sharing economy activities and give limitations and directions for future studies.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Sustainability
Citation Index SSCI
WU-Journal-Rating new STRAT-C
Language English
Title Preventing Conflicts in Sharing Communities as a Means of Promoting Sustainability
Volume 10
Number 8
Year 2018
Page from 1
Page to 24
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su10082828
Open Access Y
Open Access Link http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/8/2828


Growth and Sustainability - In Contradiction or a Chance?
Collaborative Consumption: Power, Trust, and Cooperation
Sabitzer, Thomas (Former researcher)
Hartl, Barbara (Details)
Marth, Sarah (Former researcher)
Hofmann, Eva (Former researcher)
Penz, Elfriede (Details)
Institute for International Marketing Management IN (Details)
Competence Center for Empirical Research Methods WE (Details)
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