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Legitimizing Catchwords of Service Marketing: The Role of Academia

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Abstract

Concepts such as value co-creation and value propositions are buzzwords of current business lingo and of the academic discipline of service marketing. The focus on value creation, and how to support value creation to occur, is linked to an increased focus on not only the customer but on the sphere or lifeworld of the customer. In academia this is theorized as a shift from value-in-the exchange, over value-in-use, to value-in-(social) context. A vast amount of literature focuses on these conceptualizations, but few seems to challenge the apparent taken-for-grantedness of the customer as willing to co-create the generic nature of applied concepts and the idea that customer orientation in itself leads to innovation. Furthermore the language, despite adopting phenomenological and hermeneutic terms relative to this claimed customer focus, obscures that companies are driven by economic value based on a market logic.

This chapter argues that a dual move of legitimization is happening; businesses legitimize their pursuit of economic value through the lingo of value co-creation, and academia, as an authoritative social entity, further legitimizes this by giving concepts that are uncritically derived from empirical phenomena analytical authority – partly based on pragmatic legitimacy – i.e., to own interests of keeping a research domain alive. The implication might be that the terminology of marketing, in both practice and academia, becomes detached from the empirical reality of the customer that the concepts are meant to mirror and hence only serve an academic purpose, but less a practical one.

Keywords

  • Value co-creation
  • Service marketing
  • Conceptual legitimacy

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Note

The chapter is partly based on the author’s PhD dissertation: What’s at stake? Critically exploring the concept of value co-creation in service research – Or an anthropologist going na(rra)tive within business administration. Roskilde University, 2016

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Hansen, A.V. (2019). Legitimizing Catchwords of Service Marketing: The Role of Academia. In: Rendtorff, J. (eds) Handbook of Business Legitimacy. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68845-9_40-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68845-9_40-1

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