On Rapport Uncertainty in the Sharing Economy - Extending the Categories of Uncertainty

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Frey, Alexander; Trenz, Manuel; Tan, Chee-Wee; Veit, Daniel
The Sharing Economy; Rapport, Sharing Economy, Uncertainty, User behavior
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conference paper description
Sharing Economy platforms enable a close physical interaction among strangers by mediating goods and services owned or provided by individuals. This close physical interaction is an inherent part of the service experience, is highly individual and thus can hardly be evaluated beforehand. This gives rise to a novel type of service uncertainty that we term as rapport uncertainty. Building on the hierarchical decomposition of service quality, we construct an uncertainty model that encompasses three uncertainty categories consumers face when sharing a resource: rapport, technical, and environment uncertainty. Our empirical study in a ride sharing context reveals that rapport uncertainty differs from other categories of uncertainty and significantly reduces the intention to transact with a service provider. Our findings illustrate how the concept of uncertainty must be extended to reflect the nature of shared service experiences. We suggest that owners of these platforms should actively manage this aspect through platform design.