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Faculty of Management Research Workshop; Eileen Fischer, Schulich School of Business

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Thu, 24 Oct 2019

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

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Cass Business School, 106 Bunhill Row

106 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8TZ, UK

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Consumer-company collaboration in platform markets: paradoxes and their consequences.

Eileen Fischer, Schulich School of Business

Platform markets, in which platform-based firms offer resources to consumers that allow them to engage in exchanges with one another, have proliferated over the last decade (e.g. Thomas, Autio & Gann 2014). This proliferation has inevitably drawn the attention of marketing scholars to the practices of platform managers who attempt to influence the behavior of collaborators to ensure the profitability and sustainability of the platform (e.g. Giesler, Veresiu and Humphreys 2018; Perren and Kozinets 2018; Von Richthofen and Fischer forthcoming). Consumer researchers have also directed attention to the development of relationships between consumers who provide offerings and those who utilize them, often emphasizing communal qualities of the so-called sharing economy (e.g. Hellwig et al 2015). Thus far, however, less attention has been paid to consumers’ perspective on their relationships with the platform companies per se. In particular, we know little about how consumers who provide offerings via platforms navigate their ongoing relationships with the companies with which they have chosen to collaborate, especially when those relationships present challenges for consumers. To address this gap in the literature, this paper draws on an inductive analysis of data reflecting the relational dynamics between consumers who use the services of the Etsy platform to sell products to other consumers. It answers two relevant research questions: (1) Under what conditions will consumers experience discontent in their relationship to companies with which they are collaborating and (2) What tactics to consumers use in response to their discontent? In answering our first question, we find that platforms like Etsy precipitate at a range of paradoxes for consumers who collaborate with them, including identity paradoxes, plurality paradoxes, performing paradoxes and adaptation paradoxes. In responding to these, collaborating consumers engage in a range of practices that runs the gamut from rationalizing, to reducing reliance, to “toying with the masters tools.” Our findings advance knowledge on how consumers may promote and protect their own interests when collaborating with more powerful market actors, particularly in the context of platform markets. They also complement prior literature on productive consumption and co-creation.

Please contact faculty administration should you wish to attend.
Food Provided (Refreshments will be provided from 12pm-12:30pm prior to the workshop in the 4th floor faculty lounge area.)

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Cass Business School, 106 Bunhill Row

106 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8TZ, UK


Eileen  Fischer's profile photo

Eileen Fischer

Eileen Fischer is a Professor of Marketing, and the Tanenbaum Chair of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, in the Schulich School of Business at Toronto’s York University. Her research spans the fields of marketing and entrepreneurship, and she has published in premiere journals in both fields. Her current portfolio of research projects includes several studies examining the how consumers and entrepreneurs are finding and creating value in platform-based businesses. Eileen is particularly well known for her expertise in qualitative research methods. She has co-authored textbooks and journal articles on the use of these methods, and she has been invited to teach qualitative methods at workshops in Australia, Europe, Scandinavia, Turkey, and the U.S. Eileen’s scholarly profile is reflected in the range of editorial responsibilities with which she has been entrusted. She is a former co-editor of the Journal of Consumer Research and served as an Associate Editor for both that journal and the Journal of Business Venturing. Currently, she is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Marketing Research, and an Editorial Review Board member for the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Consumer Research, Consumption, Markets and Culture; the Journal of Business Venturing, and Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice. Eileen also has honorary appointments at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Business and Economics, the Norwegian School of Economics, and the Cass Business School in London. Eileen has also been an active leader both at her home institution and in her profession. Internally to her business school, she has held the roles of department chair for both the Marketing and Entrepreneurship groups; has served as the Associate Dean of Research, and as Chair of Tenure and Promotions Committee; and she is currently the Director of the Ph.D. Program. Within York University she has chaired or participated in numerous standing and ad hoc committees of the University’s Senate. She has likewise held many leadership roles in both the marketing and entrepreneurship communities. She is the Past President of the Consumer Culture Theory Consortium, having been elected as its Vice President in 2011 and become President in 2014. She was also elected to the five-year leadership rotation for the Entrepreneurship Division of the Academy of Management, serving as its Chair in 2009-2010. And she is currently the President Elect of the Association for Consumer Research. In 2016, Eileen was honored by York University by being made a “University Professor.” This title is awarded members of York’s professoriate in recognition of the recipient’s extraordinarily high levels of achievement in research, teaching and service. Eileen was delighted that her husband Michael, son Theo and daughter Elizabeth were able to be present when this title was conferred; she only wishes her border terrier Harriet could have attended the ceremony too.