Inviting Strangers to Participate in Collaborative Consumption through Mobile App

Hong Chen, Chee Wei Phang, Chenghong Zhang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Mobile technology has facilitated an emerging form of consumption practices called collaborative consumption. In this study, we investigate one such manifestation whereby merchants send group discount coupons to nearby consumers and encourage them to invite surrounding people to enjoy the discount together. We are interested to know if timing (morning vs. afternoon) and message framing (active vs. passive mutual helping tone) would increase the chance of an individual deciding to invite strangers (and invite a higher proportion of strangers if they did) to participate in the collaborative consumption. Facilitating the participation among strangers can help elevate the reach and influence of collaborative consumption, allowing its potential to be better exploited. Our field experiment findings show that in general people are more likely to invite strangers (and also a higher proportion of strangers in all their invitations) in the morning than in the afternoon. In addition, a message framed to ask the focal individual to actively help others enjoy the deal (active tone) is more effective than a message framed passively, i.e., to let others help him/her (passive tone) in the morning. However, passive tone framing can induce individuals to invite a higher proportion of strangers in the afternoon if they did invite others. These findings have important implications to merchants and app providers on how to more fully tap into the potential of collaborative consumption via mobile technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-535
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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