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Motivations to build a tiny house and continue despite obstacles - a multiple qualitative methods study

Böllert, Pauline Sophie (2019) Motivations to build a tiny house and continue despite obstacles - a multiple qualitative methods study.

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Abstract:Introduction: This research studies the motivations to build a tiny house and challenges during the building process. Research by Mangold and Zschau (2019) already identified motivations such as no rent and more free time. Mutter (2013) found the tiny house community to be a motivation. Literature also identified obstacles, such as a legal grey area. However, those articles are concerned with the U.S.. Furthermore, those studies are explorative and do not employ psychological theories to substantiate findings. This study fills the gap of knowledge about the tiny house movement in Europe (Germany) on the basis of Deci and Ryan’s (2000) Self-Determination Theory (SDT), which supposes that people aim to achieve autonomy, competence and relatedness. Methods: The study makes use of a multiple qualitative methods design. Participants were selected postulating that they build or have built a tiny house. They were contacted via the Facebook group “Tiny House Deutschland” and via YouTube. Two males and two females were selected, with a mean age of 42 years. Interviews were conducted followed by the “Letter from the Future” method to gain more insight into participants’ unconscious motivations. The SDT was used as a guiding structure for analysing motivations, previous research on obstacles provided structure for analysing obstacles. Results: Results showed that gaining autonomy is the most relevant motivation for tiny house builders. However, competence and relatedness also play into the decision, but were not identified as often as autonomy. Furthermore, a category with additional motivations to build a tiny house was found, such as a wish for being environmentally friendly and liking the comfort of living in a tiny house. The most relevant obstacle was finding a parking position for the tiny house. Unexpected results were found about age and gender, as women appeared to be more environmentally concerned and the two younger participants valued flexibility more than the older ones did. Discussion: The findings were in line with existing literature, but also gave further insight into motivations to build a tiny house. A community was found to be critical, as participants did not agree in their opinion. Moreover, participants enjoyed the building phase more than participants in U.S. studies did, implying that they decided for a tiny house without external pressure. Difficulties with the legal status of tiny houses could be replicated in this study, however further obstacles could also be identified. Findings from this study fill the gap in European literature about motivations and challenges to build a tiny house and can help support prospective tiny house builders. The support of builders can serve to solve societal problems like living space shortage.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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