When you look up “ownership” on one of the countless thesaurus websites online, you will find out that there are more than 130 valid alternative expressions available. No surprise that its many faces as well as the excess supply of terms have led to a plethora of interpretations and conceptualizations across numerous disciplines. Unfortunately, existing streams of literature have not always managed to reinforce each other and there have been only few crosslinks between different groups of scholars working on the same fundamental phenomenon.
With buzzing, societal trends such as collaborative consumption and the sharing economy on the rise and a much predicted cultural homogenization to follow, the concept of ownership, more specifically the non-legal, psychological perspective of it, becomes more important than ever before. Often used as a synonym for a variety of concepts such as possession, property, claim, proprietorship, having or entitlement, ownership has shaped a wide variety of (economic) behaviors both of individuals as well as groups of individuals. Ownership in a psychological sense has most prominently been defined by Pierce, Kostova and Dirks (2003) as “the feeling that something is mine” and can emerge independent of legal ownership for a variety of targets such as a product, the workplace, an idea or a brand. Its powerful psychological underpinnings have made it a key phenomenon of interest for many research fields ranging from organizational studies and consumer behavior to information technology and social media.
Facing the general dilemma of lacking the one comprehensive resource that serves as a common denominator for both theory and practice, The Science of Ownership was set up as an independent platform that seeks to cover a range of topics within the realms of ownership as a broad and interdisciplinary field of study . Founded in 2014 by a passionate team from the Institute for Marketing & Consumer Research at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, its primary objective is to provide comprehensive, high-quality content and advance our current knowledge on ownership as a non-legal, psychological phenomenon. More specifically, we intend to answer important questions like:
- What does it actually mean to feel ownership for something in everyday life?
- How does legal ownership of tangible or intangible objects influence how human beings feel about them?
- How does a sense of ownership impact people’s real behaviors?
- How have trends and developments such as new technologies, cultural and societal globalization, or the sharing economy shaped the merits of ownership?
Although this blog primarily discusses the topic of ownership from an academic point of view, practically relevant content will also be featured and discussed. As editors and contributors, we are looking forward to a rich exchange of all things related to ownership and its (psychological) implications, and hope that you are enjoying your visit to this site!
The topic is massive, it has occupied many minds and so should this blog. This blog is a collaborative project, we cordially invite YOU to contribute as well – either as a guest author, content and resource scout, or featured as an affiliate and community member. Click here to directly contact us if you are interested in joining the community or want more information on the various collaboration options we provide!