This study examines the role of cultural values on individuals' intention to rent out and rent products in peer-to-peer exchanges. We collected survey data from participants in eleven countries - China, India, Jamaica, Namibia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Our findings provide evidence that, while both collectivism and masculinism positively affect individuals' intention to rent out and rent products, uncertainty avoidance significantly discourages individuals from renting out their products to others. We also find that the product category significantly affects renting out and renting intentions of individuals using peer-to-peer exchanges.
The growth of the peer-to-peer (P2P) exchanges that allow individuals to rent out their under-utilized products for a fee to those who are temporarily in need of them in the past few years has been phenomenal (Cusumano, 2015). Some have predicted that this industry, popularly known as the sharing economy, could be as big as the Industrial Revolution (Botsman & Rogers, 2010). While P2P exchanges continue to emerge around the world, business scholars have only recently started to consider the importance of studying cultural differences in understanding the sharing economy. The need for incorporating a cultural lens into this stream of research is critical because individuals from different countries espouse different cultural values (Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkov, 2010), norms (Minkov, Blagoev, & Hofstede, 2013; Vauclair & Fischer, 2011), and beliefs (Belk, 2010) about sharing. For example: In much of Asia, the tea cups are quite small, and the beer bottles are quite large. For, in contrast to contemporary Western drinks, the beverages in these containers are meant to be shared [and not individually consumed]. (Belk, 2010; p. 715). Although most cultures have rituals and practices that involve sharing, these practices manifest themselves in different ways and carry different assumptions about the meaning of these shared practices. Thus, there is no single universal prescription that can “be applied for promoting [P2P exchanges] across the globe” (Davidson, Habibi, & Laroche, 2018; p. 370). This study seeks to understand the impact of cultural differences on individuals' propensity to rent out and rent products using P2P exchanges. To the best of our knowledge, thus far, there is only one study - Davidson et al. (2018) - that has examined the role of cultural differences in the renting behaviors of Indian and American participants of a P2P ridesharing company. However, it has two shortcomings. First, Davidson et al. (2018) did not measure the cultural values of their participants and, instead, used the country name as a proxy to explain the differences between Indian and American participants. Second, their study only explored the consumer (i.e., renting) side and did not consider the provider (i.e., renting out) side of the sharing economy. Recently, Benoit, Baker, Bolton, Gruber, and Kandampully (2017) have criticized the lack of research about providers' role in the sharing economy. According to Wilhelms, Henkel, and Falk (2017), this lack of research is attributed to “the existing research [that] merely explores users of business-to-consumer (B2C)” exchange services (such as Zipcar) where an individual can rent, but not rent out (Wilhelms et al., 2017; p. 38). Kumar, Lahiri, and Dogan (2018) further argue that matching the provider (supply) side and consumer (demand) side is critical for the long-term success of peer-to-peer exchanges.