Since the beginning of the European refugee crisis in 2014, we have all been confronted with the emerging problems occurring in European members states. News items are covered with disturbing headlines, including: “More than 110,000 asylum seekers crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in 2016” and “EU failure to cope with refugee crisis threatens its very survival”. Although everyone is aware of the increasing flow of refugees into Europe, it might be rejuvenating to re-watch the widespread explanatory video of “The European Refugee Crisis and Syria”.
Imagine you are writing your thesis, and at the moment you want to save it on your USB stick, it crashes. As it is crucial to create a backup copy of your thesis, you start searching the Internet for a new USB stick. When you enter a particular retailer’s website, the following alternatives are shown:
As you are provided with 5 different USB sticks, you now have to make a decision on which USB stick you prefer. Most likely, you will start by reading their product descriptions in order to make the best decision. However, after reading the different product descriptions, you are faced with the following dilemma: are you going to purchase the most preferred USB stick that was presented to you? Or are you going to continue your search for another (yet unrevealed and maybe better) USB stick?
The emergence of the Internet has enabled the development of online platforms, in which user-generated content, sharing and collaboration are promoted (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). Due to these technological advances, consumers are able to share goods and services more easily. This led to the development of the sharing economy, which is primarily based on the principle of ‘collaborative consumption’. Collaborative consumption is defined as “the peer-to-peer-based activity of obtaining, giving, or sharing the access to goods and services, coordinated through community-based online services”(Hamari et al., 2015). Some of the most well known collaborative consumption initiatives are: eBay, Uber, Airbnb, and Zipcar.