Critical service logic: making sense of value creation and co-creation

Abstract

Because extant literature on the service logic of marketing is dominated by a metaphorical view of value co-creation, the roles of both service providers and customers remain analytically unspecified, without a theoretically sound foundation for value creation or co-creation. This article analyzes value creation and co-creation in service by analytically defining the roles of the customer and the firm, as well as the scope, locus, and nature of value and value creation. Value creation refers to customers’ creation of value-in-use; co-creation is a function of interaction. Both the firm’s and the customer’s actions can be categorized by spheres (provider, joint, customer), and their interactions are either direct or indirect, leading to different forms of value creation and co-creation. This conceptualization of value creation spheres extends knowledge about how value-in-use emerges and how value creation can be managed; it also emphasizes the pivotal role of direct interactions for value co-creation opportunities.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Because it is a perspective on business and marketing that is not only dominated by service but also based on service, we prefer the term service logic (see Grönroos 2011). Service is the mental model or dominant logic (Prahalad and Bettis 1986) that guides the use of this perspective. The expression “service-dominant logic” confuses service as a perspective and the dominant logic concept. However, when referring to conventional literature on service logic, we use “service-dominant logic” or SDL.

  2. 2.

    The co-creation concept appears in multiple firm-driven contexts, such as virtual (Füller 2010), learning (Desai 2010), product development, and innovation (Ramaswamy 2011; Rowley et al. 2007) contexts. We can observe a shift in how co-creation has been treated.

  3. 3.

    Although the experiential value creation process is embedded in the constantly evolving context, expressions such as “value-in-context” (Chandler and Vargo 2011) only describe what influences the way value-in-use emerges or is created. They cannot replace value-in-use as the fundamental concept. Value-in-use is grounded in the view of value as a utility, which emerges for the user during a consumption process (see Becker 1965). Therefore, we use value-in-use as the theoretically best description of a situation in which value emerges for or is created by the customer in a temporally fluctuating, accumulating experience process during use (resource/outcome integration).

  4. 4.

    Although the expression “accumulated experiences” seems to imply a constantly positively evolving level of value, obviously the value accumulation process may include both positive and negative value experiences, where at times the customer may also become worse off and not constantly better off.

  5. 5.

    Value is of course also created for the firm. However, in the present analysis we discuss only how value is created for the customer.

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Grönroos, C., Voima, P. Critical service logic: making sense of value creation and co-creation. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 41, 133–150 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-012-0308-3

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Keywords

  • Value creation
  • Value co-creation
  • Value spheres
  • Service logic
  • Service-dominant logic
  • Interaction
  • Marketing