Journal of Service Research to publish Service Science Factory paper on customers’ roles in collaborative value creation

The Service Science Factory is proud to announce a forthcoming paper authored by Sabine Moeller, Robert Ciuchita, Dominik Mahr, Gaby Odekerken-Schröder and Martin Fassnacht in the November 2013 issue of the Journal of Service Research (JSR).

JSR is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic publication, widely considered as the world’s leading service research journal.

The forthcoming paper is based on a research project initiated and carried out at the Service Science Factory by a team of researchers from the Service Science Factory and the School of Business and Economics of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, in collaboration with the EBS Business School and the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany.

The aim of the research project was to uncover why and how customers collaboratively create value with service providers. Its main outcomes were a set of dimensions on which customers differ when collaboratively creating value, as well as a set of roles customers perform during collaborative value creation.

What is collaborative value creation (CVC)?

Traditionally, value creation has been understood as value created by companies.

Over the past decade, however, both academia and practice have shifted their attention towards the increasingly active role of the customer in value creation with companies.

The authors define collaborative value creation (CVC) as a process through which customers perform roles to derive benefits by leveraging their own and the service provider’s resources, either jointly with the service provider or independently.

To achieve a better understanding of this current and relevant phenomenon, the authors have explored value creation in terms of three types of generic service offerings.

Hence, a service offering can be seen as a configuration, a solution or a network type of offering as illustrated in Table 1.

Table 1: Value created in different types of service offerings

The authors collected 105 collaboration occurrences through in-depth interviews with 35 respondents spread across the globe, each reporting three different types of collaboration (one for configuration, one for solution and one for network service offerings).

In order to illustrate this, the same respondent would refer to booking a holiday when referring to configuration offerings, receiving reparatory surgery when referring to solution offerings and selling an item online when referring to network offerings.

How do customers differ when collaboratively creating value?

In a first phase, the authors employed qualitative analysis techniques and a series of differences in value creation emerged from the data.

More specifically, customers differed across the three types of offerings during CVC as can be seen in Table 2.

Table 2: Differences across service offerings

As an illustration, the findings pertaining to the ability enhancers reveal the predominant sources on which customers tend to rely to overcome difficulties.

Accordingly, a service provider should facilitate its access to third-party sources for configuration offerings (e.g., industry reports, independent review websites), its own knowledge for solution offerings (e.g., repair instructions), and friends and other customers for network offerings (e.g., user reviews).

What are the roles performed by customers when collaboratively creating value?

In a second phase, the authors employed quantitative analysis techniques to uncover whether the observed differences and their levels of variation generate specific patterns of customer behavior during CVC.

The results showed five distinct customer roles in CVC as can be seen in Table 3.

Table 3: Customer roles in collaborative value creation

By identifying these five distinct customer roles in CVC the authors’ findings provide guidelines on how to segment customers based on their active role in value creation.

Moreover, the five identified customer roles appear across the three types of service offerings, with individual customers performing multiple roles when engaging in different CVC processes.

These insights should encourage service providers to consider multiple channels and cross-selling.

As an illustration, the bargain-hunting independent customer emerges mainly in networks but also appears interested in configuration offerings. A member visiting an online user community might thus use the feature to self-configure a service to realize a lower price.

Should you have any questions about this study and its findings, please address them to

Sabine Moeller is Marketing Professor at the EBS Business School at EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht and the holder of the Lekkerland Endowed Chair for Convenience & Marketing. Sabine is manager of the Competence Center for Convenience, Academic Director of the EBS Summer Schools and Chairman of the doctoral committee. Her main research fields are Service- and Retail-Marketing. Sabine’s work has been published in international journals, such as the Journal of Service Research, Journal of Services Marketing, Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing and International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management.

Robert Ciuchita is a PhD candidate at the Service Science Factory and the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management of the School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University. His main research and teaching interests revolve around Service and Relationship Marketing and Service Innovation.

Dominik Mahr is Assistant Professor at the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management of the School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University. His research interests are in open innovation, customer co-creation, digital media, knowledge creation, healthcare and strategic marketing. Dominik’s publications have appeared in journals such as the Journal of Product Innovation Management, BMJ Quality & Safety (previously Quality & Safety in Health Care), Health Policy and Research Policy.

Gaby Odekerken-Schröder is a Professor in customer-centric service science at Maastricht University. She is the scientific director of Maastricht University’s Service Science Factory and the vice-chair of the department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management of Maastricht University. Her main fields of research are services and relationship marketing. Her research has been published in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Business Research, International Marketing Review, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Journal of Consumer Marketing and many other international journals. Her teaching time is dedicated to developing high quality courses for bachelor, master, PhD and executive students.

Martin Fassnacht is Professor and Holder of the Otto Beisheim Endowed Chair of Marketing and Commerce, Speaker of the Marketing Group and Scientific Director of the Center for Market-oriented Corporate Management (CMM) at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. He is Chairman of the Advisory Board of Henkel Center for Consumer Goods (HCCG). His main fields of research are pricing and (luxury) branding. Martin’s work has been published in leading international journals, such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Service Research and Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing.


Source: Service Science Factory blog, 20 February 2013


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