||The growth of information technology has led to shifts in lifestyle and shopping habits. Consumer trends have shifted from the ownership of goods to a use right of goods. Thus, the sharing economy is widely integrated into our lives, reducing the waste of idle resources and increasing the utilization of assets through sharing or renting of tangible assets (Uber, Airbnb) and intangible assets (Codementor, Hub Culture). |
Previous studies related to the sharing economy have mostly focused on the case of tangible assets. For the most part, scholars have employed questionnaires or interviews to collect data; however, the results have mainly based on personal perspectives of subjects and may not be sufficiently objective. In view of this, we have chosen an international sharing economy platform, Codementor, about which to conduct our research, gathering the research sample through web-based retrieval technology.
Trust, one of the most important factors in the sharing economy, is mainly due to the issue of asymmetric information on the internet. During the sharing process, there are asymmetries of information between the supplier and the demander. Although previous studies have suggested that a “sharing economy” reputational rating system can function as a form of self-regulation, there may still be prejudices within such a system. On peer-to-peer platforms, the information that providers need to reveal is not well defined by the policy of platform; thus, improving information disclosure may also decrease the information asymmetry problem. The current study uses signaling theory as conceptual framework to explore the impact of the information disclosure of mentors on the growth of consulting services.
Our study adopts a web scraper to retrieve 1,698 user instances on Codementor, of which there were only 612 users whose numbers of service were above zero at the end of the three-month observation. The acquired data consisted of reviews, posts, followers, numbers of service, mentoring experience at other websites, etc. In accordance with signaling theory, our research examines three dimensions: signal clarity, signal credibility, and service cost. We verify our hypotheses through multiple linear regression analysis. The results show that on the sharing economy platform, the influence of external signals is greater than that of internal signals, and offering a free trial alone cannot effectively improve service growth. Mentor participates in the community and has numerous of followers that has no effect on service delivery growth.
The results of this study are expected to inspire mentors on Codementor or users on similar platforms as to how a mentor can improve management of his or her profile. We suggest that future research can use questionnaires or interviews to further explore communication interactions on the sharing economy platform.