PurposeAlthough a dominant marketing concept, value co-creation (VCC) is not without controversy. Inspired by value co-destruction (VCD), the purpose of this paper is to review the scattered literature on the uncertainties in collaborative value formation, synthesising contingency factors of value outcomes in VCC.Design/methodology/approachThe paper is based on an examination of 84 peer-reviewed journal articles. Recognising the drawbacks of the macroscopic abstraction in existing the VCC literature, the authors adopt a zooming-in approach to identify distinct patterns of contingency factors in the collaborative value-formation process.FindingsFrom a macro-social perspective, VCC may connote a sense of exploitation of “consumers” and a need for consumer control of “producers”, impeding harmonious value formation. Zooming into actor-to-actor interactions, the collaborative relationship is found to be a source of uncertainties in value formation, which is further complicated by differences in the knowledge intensities of services. Finally, reviewing the individual consumer reveals a most nuanced picture that demonstrates heterogeneities of consumers’ VCC involvement and complexities in their perceptions and behaviours. Five propositions and a contingency framework are proposed.Research limitations/implicationsSix value formation mechanisms are proposed based on interconnected and multi-level perspectives, providing implications for managers and future researchers.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to rebalancing VCC research by synthesising insights on the potential contingencies, which are relatively under-explored yet vital to keep the controversy alive and relevant, and re-invigorating business processes.
Journal of Service Theory and Practice – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 21, 2019
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