Grassroots social innovation and the mobilisation of values in collaborative consumption: a conceptual model

Martin, Chris J. and Upham, Paul (2015). Grassroots social innovation and the mobilisation of values in collaborative consumption: a conceptual model. Journal of Cleaner Production, 134(Part A) pp. 204–213.



There is growing interest in the potential of grassroots innovations to play a role in the transition to sustainable production and consumption systems. However, the role of values has been little considered in relation to the development and diffusion of grassroots innovations. We develop a conceptual model of how citizens’ values are mobilised by grassroots innovations, drawing on the value theory of Schwartz et al. (2012) and the theory of collective enactment of values of Chen et al. (2013). Using the results of a large scale survey of free reuse groups (e.g. Freecycle and Freegle), which enable collaborative forms of consumption, we apply the conceptual model to explore how participants’ values are mobilised and expressed. We show that while the majority of free reuse group participants do hold significantly stronger self-transcendence (i.e. pro-social) values than the wider UK population, they also hold other values in common with that population and a minority actually place less emphasis on self-transcendence values. We conclude that diffusion of this particular grassroots innovation is unlikely to be simply value limited and that structural features may be more significant.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 42611
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1879-1786
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    eGovernment - Social Enterprises and Socio-Technical PerspectivesES/L00271X/1ESRC
  • Keywords
  • grassroots innovation; reuse; values; transitions; social innovation; collaborative consumption; sharing economy
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
  • Depositing User
  • Chris Martin