ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (11): 1920-1935.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.01920

• Conceptual Framework • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The promotion of customer citizenship behaviors and the deterrence of misbehaviors in sharing economy based on social dilemma theory

MA Shuang1, LING Xiaodie2, LI Chunqing3()   

  1. 1School of Information Technology & Management, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing 100029, China
    2School of Tourism Science, Beijing International Studies University, Beijing 100024, China
    3School of Economics and Management, Northwest University, Xi’an 710027, China
  • Received:2021-01-04 Online:2021-11-15 Published:2021-09-23
  • Contact: LI Chunqing


The promotion of customer citizenship behaviors and the deterrence of misbehaviors can increase the sustainability of the sharing economy (in which services are exchanged between peer providers and peer customers, as on the Xiaozhu platform). A recent line of research has focused on customer citizenship behaviors and misbehaviors in the traditional economy, but this research cannot capture the idiosyncrasies of the sharing economy. Recent media coverage of the sharing economy has been permeated by examples of customer citizenship behaviors and misbehaviors, but academia and practice have been silent on strategies for optimizing these behaviors. We approach this question from the perspective of the social dilemma, which involves a conflict between the maximization of self-interest and collective interests. Social dilemma theory pertains to the regulation of myriad individual behaviors, and we use the theory to investigate the concepts, dimensions, and measures of customer citizenship behaviors and misbehaviors. Then, we test how platforms, peer providers, and the government can use rules and social influence to optimize customer behaviors (i.e., promoting customer citizenship behaviors and preventing misbehaviors). Finally, we illustrate the differential impacts of customer citizenship behaviors and misbehaviors on the actual performance of peer providers, and we identify boundary effects involving the customer’s social orientation and peer provider’s monitoring.
This study offers three major innovations to the literature. First, this study expands the investigation of the typical characteristics of customer citizenship behaviors and misbehaviors from the offline context to the sharing economy. Most researchers have measured customer citizenship behaviors and misbehaviors from single dimension and have focused on the offline context (typical citizenship behaviors: customer recommendations, information sharing; typical misbehaviors: being rude to service providers, swapping price tags). Without a nuanced understanding of customer citizenship behaviors and misbehaviors in the sharing economy, managers cannot manage customer behaviors effectively. Using social dilemma theory, this research demonstrates customer citizenship behaviors in the sharing economy (e.g., customer recommendations, helping behaviors, information sharing, and toleration behaviors) from the perspectives of peer providers and peer customers. We also discuss customer misbehaviors from the perspectives of property sharing, peer providers, communities, and online feedback.
Second, this study advances the social dilemma theory literature by systematically examining two types of solutions: motivational (e.g., social influence) and structural (e.g., rule making). Most studies apply social dilemma theory to investigate structural solutions in the traditional offline context, where customer behavior might be governed by firm regulations and constraints. We demonstrate how structural and motivational solutions can be adapted for the online sharing economy; structural solutions include behavioral supervision and rules for rewards and penalties, while motivation solutions include identification and personalization. However, the theory in prior studies can not fully explain customer citizenship behaviors and misbehaviors on sharing platforms. This study investigates how customer behaviors are shaped by social influence as well as by rule-making at three levels: the platform, peer providers, and the government.
Third, this study adds to the existing sharing economy literature. We investigate the differential influences of dimensions of customer behaviors on the actual performance of peer providers. In addition, this research disentangles the moderation mechanisms by which cross-cultural and peer provider supervision influence customer behaviors. Prior studies in the sharing economy literature have used questionnaires and case studies to analyze the impacts of customer citizenship behaviors and misbehaviors on customer premium payment intentions and peer provider performance. However, these studies offer little insight into the drivers of customer behaviors, their impact on actual peer provider performance, and strategies for influencing customer behaviors to achieve better outcomes. This study addresses all three of these shortcomings: We offer insight into the drivers by illustrating how the influences of customer behaviors vary by country, we examine the influences of customer behaviors on actual performance, and we evaluate strategies for reconciling the impacts of customer behaviors through smart technology adoption and communication.

Key words: sharing economy, customer citizenship behaviors, customer misbehaviors, social dilemma

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