Expanding Understanding of Service Exchange and Value Co-Creation: A Social Construction Approach

Bo Edvardsson, Karlstad University
Bård Tronvoll, Hedmark University College
Thorsten Gruber, The University of Manchester

According to service-dominant logic (S-D logic), all providers are service providers, and service is the fundamental basis of exchange. Value is co-created with customers and assessed on the basis of value-in-context. However, the extensive literature on S-D logic could benefit from paying explicit attention to the fact that both service exchange and value co-creation are influenced by social forces. The aim of this study is to expand understanding of service exchange and value co- creation by complementing these central aspects of S-D logic with key concepts from social construction theories (social structures, social systems, roles, positions, interactions, and reproduction of social structures). The study develops and describes a new framework for understanding how the concepts of service exchange and value co-creation are affected by recognizing that they are embedded in social systems. The study contends that value should be understood as value-in-social-context and that value is a social construction. Value co-creation is shaped by social forces, is reproduced in social structures, and can be asymmetric for the actors involved. Service exchanges are dynamic, and actors learn and change their roles within dynamic service systems.