Dr. Carlos DIAZ RUIZ

Professor in Marketing & Consumer studies

Who creates value? and who co-creates value?

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Grönroos (2008) attempts to clarify one of the most confusing claims of Service (Dominant) Logic: the customer is always co-creator of value. In order to do this, he distinguishes three concepts: Service as an activity, service as business logic, and service as a perspective on value creation for the customer. Service as an activity is the traditional understanding of the word service. In services, interaction is predominant, and is differentiated from a physical product. In traditional marketing jargon this could be defined as the marketing of services, as opposed to products. Service as a perspective is different. Service as a business logic (Service Logic) encompasses a different way of a firm to relate to its environment, not only in the form of customers, but also in the form of other stake-holders, such as suppliers. This view deals mostly with how the firm conducts its business (i.e. business logic). In contrast, service as a perspective on value creation is observed from the customer perspective. This means that it is relevant to understand the process of value creation for the customer. Value, therefore, is a central concept in this view to understand if the customer is always a co-creator of value.

Grönroos (2008; p.301) argues that “it is important to keep apart service production, in which customers take part as co-creators, and value creation”. This means that co-creation does not necessarily result in more value for the customer. When we explore the concept of Value-in-use, it is the customer, independently of the firm, who creates value for himself or herself. The role of the firm is that of a facilitator so that the customer can accomplish its own goals. Grönroos (2008; p.306) suggest that firms should not be distracted by existing goods or services in their marketing offerings, but focus on understanding the everyday practices, and value generating processes of their clients”. The conclusion is that the customer is the value creator, whereas the firm is the facilitator. Co-creation can happen in interaction.

Grönroos, C. (2008), Service Logic Revisited: Who Creates Value? And Who Co-creates?, European Business Review, Vol. 20, No. 4, 298-313.


Author: Diaz Ruiz

Carlos A. Diaz Ruiz is Assistant Professor in Marketing at Kedge Business School in Bordeaux

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