PurposeAdopting a socio-spatial approach, this study develops a consumer-centric conception of service experience customization. In contrast to existing service customization research, which has focused on company-centric approaches, the purpose of this paper is to examine the practices through which consumers use, abuse, subvert, transform, or complement organizational resources to construct their consumption experiences.Design/methodology/approachThe empirical context for this study is a Meetup group: a consumer network organized around members’ shared interests and activities in theme parks. The research utilized participant observation of members’ face-to-face activities during two years and over 80 events, interviews with key informants, and content analysis of online interactions.FindingsThe findings outline how consumers interact across physical and virtual spaces utilizing technologies and material objects. The data are used to propose a new consumer-centric conceptualization of experience customization, distinguishing between three modes: collaborative co-production, cooperative co-creation, and subversive co-creation.Originality/valueIt is argued that the three modes of customization provide a way to understand how consumers mobilize and (re)deploy organizational resources to create experiences that may complement existing service propositions, but may also transform them in ways that challenge the service provider’s original goals and expectations. Furthermore, this study identifies the factors that shape which modes of customization are possible and how they are enacted. Specifically, the discussion examines how experiential complexity, governability, the compatibility of consumer and organizational practices, and the collective mobilization of resources may determine the scope and form of customization.
Journal of Service Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 12, 2018
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