Alexander, Matthew and Jaakkola, Elina (2011) Exploring value co-creation within networks : actor-to-actor service provision within a public transport service system. In: Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Conference, 2011-08-31 - 2011-09-03, Glasgow.
Purpose: This study explores how value co-creation occurs at a network level in a service system comprising representatives of business, consumer, and community actors. The research centres on the following questions: 1) what kind of operand and operant resources are contributed and integrated in the value co-creation process? 2) What value-in-use is experienced by actors? 3) What factors facilitate service-system functionality and value cocreation? Drawing on service-dominant logic, IMP literature and a qualitative case study the paper provides new insights into value co-creation at a network/system-level. Methodology: A case study approach is employed to examine a unique partnership between a public transport provider and community groups who are invited to ‘adopt’ railway stations in Scotland. The ‘adopt a station’ scheme allows community users to utilize unused space within the station free of charge in order to provide services or facility improvements to benefit the community. The case represents a service-system where value co-creation occurs within Actor to Actor interactions in the interplay of C-to-C, B-to-C and B-to-B context, involving consumers, members of the community, rail staff and governmental organisations. Findings: The study describes resource contribution and integration involving a range of actors. In the Adopt a Station case, organizational actors contributed principally operand (financial and physical) resources, and the community actors and rail operator become in themselves the operant resources that integrate resources, promote the network and build relationships through their drive and passion to make the adopt project a success. The provision of resources was motivated by the value-in-use each actor anticipates gaining from involvement in the service-system. Four critical prerequisites for value co-creation within the service-system were identified: the provision of access and nature of that access; the level of ownership taken by adopters; user empowerment, and an increased level of support from other actors in the service-system. Contribution: The study of value creation within service systems comprising of relationships between a range of actors (both business and consumer) represents an interesting research gap in both S-D logic and IMP literature. This paper addresses calls for research to increase understanding of value co-creation at the service system and network level. The paper contributes by illustrating a) resources contributed and integrated at network-level and b) the value-in-use experienced by multiple actors c) the prerequisites for successful value co-creation. We suggest that firms should explore the potential for engaging versatile stakeholders and their networks of relationships around a common cause and make use of organically emerging service systems.
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