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Paper info: Exploring Value Co-creation within Networks: Actor-to-Actor Service Provision within a Public Transport Service System


Exploring Value Co-creation within Networks: Actor-to-Actor Service Provision within a Public Transport Service System


Elina Jaakkola and Matthew Alexander

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 27th IMP-conference in Glasgow, Scotland in 2011.


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Purpose: This study explores how value co-creation occurs at a network level in a service
system comprising representatives of business, consumer, and community actors. The
research centres on the following questions: 1) what kind of operand and operant resources
are contributed and integrated in the value co-creation process? 2) What value-in-use is
experienced by actors? 3) What factors facilitate service-system functionality and value cocreation?
Drawing on service-dominant logic, IMP literature and a qualitative case study the
paper provides new insights into value co-creation at a network/system-level.
Methodology: A case study approach is employed to examine a unique partnership between
a public transport provider and community groups who are invited to ‘adopt’ railway stations
in Scotland. The ‘adopt a station’ scheme allows community users to utilize unused space
within the station free of charge in order to provide services or facility improvements to
benefit the community. The case represents a service-system where value co-creation occurs
within Actor to Actor interactions in the interplay of C-to-C, B-to-C and B-to-B context,
involving consumers, members of the community, rail staff and governmental organisations.
Findings: The study describes resource contribution and integration involving a range of
actors. In the Adopt a Station case, organizational actors contributed principally operand
(financial and physical) resources, and the community actors and rail operator become in
themselves the operant resources that integrate resources, promote the network and build
relationships through their drive and passion to make the adopt project a success. The
provision of resources was motivated by the value-in-use each actor anticipates gaining from
involvement in the service-system. Four critical prerequisites for value co-creation within the
service-system were identified: the provision of access and nature of that access; the level of
ownership taken by adopters; user empowerment, and an increased level of support from
other actors in the service-system.
Contribution: The study of value creation within service systems comprising of
relationships between a range of actors (both business and consumer) represents an
interesting research gap in both S-D logic and IMP literature. This paper addresses calls for
research to increase understanding of value co-creation at the service system and network
level. The paper contributes by illustrating a) resources contributed and integrated at
network-level and b) the value-in-use experienced by multiple actors c) the prerequisites for
successful value co-creation. We suggest that firms should explore the potential for engaging
versatile stakeholders and their networks of relationships around a common cause and make
use of organically emerging service systems.
Key words: value co-creation, service system, service network, actor-to-actor, public