Co-Production: A Fear-Weather Syndrome?

Tor W. Andreassen, Karlstad University
Anders Gustafsson, Karlstad University
Heiko Gebauer, University of St.Gallen

An emerging perspective in marketing considers customers as actively involved in the production, delivery and consumption of services. While there are different terms for this – co-production, co-creation, prosumption – the underlying assumption is that customers are able and willing to be involved in the creation of value. In this paper we challenge this idea to some degree. Building on Prahalad’s (2004) five phases of co-production (customer engagement, self- services, customer involvement, problem solving and co-designing), we investigate the association of these five phases on value co-production. We find that customers want to co-produce in all but one of the elements; problem solving. In other words, dissatisfied customers do not want to be involved in helping a company to find a solution to their problem. This finding is robust among high and low experienced users who neither of this group want to be involved in problem solving. From this we conclude that co-production is a fear-weather syndrome, i.e. only when the service functions as expected are customers willing to co-produce.


Research in progress