Consumption value of 'sharing in' and 'sharing out': Empirical evidence from the pet industry

Cross, Sarah (2011). Consumption value of 'sharing in' and 'sharing out': Empirical evidence from the pet industry Honours Thesis, UQ Business School, The University of Queensland.

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Author Cross, Sarah
Thesis Title Consumption value of 'sharing in' and 'sharing out': Empirical evidence from the pet industry
School, Centre or Institute UQ Business School
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-27
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Josephine Previte
Alastair Tombs
Total pages 105
Language eng
Subjects 1503 Business and Management
Abstract/Summary The pet industry in Australia is a growing industry consisting of profit and non-profit firms selling pets and their associated products and services (Mayo, Mayo & Helms, 2009). Demand for pet-related products and services is rising, and it is estimated that Australian consumers spend more money on pets than with industries such as beef, footwear and motels (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011 cited by Pets Australia, 2011; IBISWorld, 2011 cited by Pets Australia, 2011). Consumer value in the pet industry is changing as a result of increased interaction between people and their pets. This study looks at the way in which this interaction, or sharing behaviour within the home, is influencing consumer value and therefore the types of products, services and organisations that are highly sought after by consumers. Traditional pet purchases have included a pet bed, food, and occasional veterinarian trips; however the modern pet owner now outlays household income on premium pet food, pet insurance, massage and acupuncture, clothing and photographic shoots for their pets (Ellson, 2008). Because of the growing concern around selling the pet as a commodity rather than as a family member, organisations need to reconsider their value propositions so they are responsive to changing customer behaviour. This study advocates scholarly thinking from service-dominant logic as a means for achieving new value propositions in the pet industry. The role of pets has changed from a more traditional view of pets as objects and products to pets being companions (Hirschman, 1994). Sharing behaviours can be used to distinguish these roles of pets. Sharing behaviours have been conceptualised as ‘sharing in’ or ‘sharing out’, where ‘sharing in’ extends the benefits of shared resources to the pet and ‘sharing out’ involves giving to the pet outside the boundaries separating self and other (Belk, 2010). These sharing behaviours impact on consumer value in the pet industry, specifically economic, social, hedonic and altruistic value. Service-dominant logic, as proposed by Vargo and Lusch (2004) is a theory providing understanding of how organisations in the pet industry can move towards improving consumer value in the pet industry. This study addresses gaps in the marketing and consumer behaviour literature. One gap exists because of the newly conceptualised ‘sharing in’ and ‘sharing out’ behaviours. As these behaviours have not been widely critiqued and explored, the empirical evidence from this research provides early insights into the broader consumption experiences of sharing. The influence of sharing on consumer behaviour is of interest to those industries involved in the collaborative marketing and „caring‟ industries such as health and welfare (Belk, 2010). Another gap in the literature includes the application of service-dominant logic not only to profit-seeking organisations in the pet industry, but also to non-profit firms. Service-dominant logic represents an opportunity for creating market competitiveness of an industry or a firm. Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) and interpretive phenomenology were used to frame the exploratory research undertaken to gather in-depth knowledge about sharing behaviours and their influence on customer value experiences in the pet industry. The qualitative study used semi-structured in-depth film interviews, to capture both verbal responses and visual instances of sharing behaviours and consumer value. Participants were sourced from purposive samples of consumers known to the research team, and from a dog park, pet supplies store and a RSPCA customer database. The audio from the interviews was transcribed by the researcher and analysed using hand coding and a computer-based data analysis tool, Leximancer. The inclusion of videography was used to add additional evidence to support the interpretation of research insights throughout the findings. The study found that human-pet interactions explain sharing behaviour and that consumer sharing behaviour operates on a continuum from extensive „sharing in‟ to extensive „sharing out‟. Furthermore, the research evidence suggests that sharing behaviours influence intrinsic and extrinsic customer value, and that social value can be split into the „sharing out‟ pets as social status value (extrinsic), or the ‘sharing in’ pets as social interaction value (intrinsic). The study found that while ‘sharing in’ influenced consumer value through social interaction value, hedonic value and altruistic value; social status value and economic value were influenced by ‘sharing out’ behaviours. From determining this value, organisations could use service-dominant logic by changing organisational value propositions to be congruent with consumer value in the pet industry where pets act as operant resources with embedded value. Based on these findings, theoretical advancements have been made in the sharing, consumer value, and service-dominant logic literature, with empirical evidence provided to support these important areas of research. Management practice can be responsive to these research findings by using conceptualisations surrounding an industry based on more than just economic consumer value. Organisations in the pet industry can benefit from this study by understanding the impact of the changing role of the pet in society and its impact on consumer value. Marketing opportunities exist for those firms that provide value congruent with these types of consumer value in order to compete.
Keyword Sharing behaviour
Value dimensions
Service-dominant logic
Pet consumption

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Created: Mon, 23 Jul 2012, 10:36:49 EST by Karen Morgan on behalf of UQ Business School