When Online Recycling Enables Givers to Escape the Tensions of the Gift Economy
Guillard, Valérie; Del Bucchia, Céline (2012), When Online Recycling Enables Givers to Escape the Tensions of the Gift Economy, in Belk, Russell W.; Askegaard, Soren; Scott, Linda, Research in Consumer Behavior, Emerald : Bingley (UK), p. 47-65. 10.1108/S0885-2111(2012)0000014007
Book titleResearch in Consumer Behavior
Book authorBelk, Russell W.; Askegaard, Soren; Scott, Linda
Number of pages369
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract (EN)Purpose – The present article explores a relatively new way for consumers to dispose of items they no longer use, namely free recycling websites. Online recycling is based on an encounter with an unknown recipient to give something away ‘in person’. Methodology – A phenomenological approach was used to understand the meaning of giving through free recycling websites. Placing the focus on the donor's perspective, we analysed Internet postings and conducted 27 in-depth interviews. Findings – Our research shows that (1) when the object is given, the online giver is less concerned about the risk of refusal, since the recipient has deliberately made the choice to take the item; (2) when the item is received, the encounter with the recipient removes the anonymity of charities and (3) in return, the encounter with the recipient offers the giver acknowledgement for the gesture without committing them to a relationship with the recipient in the way a gift to kith or kin might do. Research implications – While former literature has highlighted certain tensions in the gift economy, this study shows how free recycling websites can help to alleviate such tensions. Social implications – The research highlights how this system of object disposition enhances social interactions between two strangers that share an interest in the same object. Originality – The article shows how this new form of gift-giving relationship is both rewarding and liberating: it is rewarding thanks to the interaction with the recipient (unlike donations to charities) without necessarily creating a bond of dependence (unlike giving to someone you know).
Subjects / Keywordscomportement du consommateur; gift-giving relationship
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