Sharing co-creation experiences contributes to consumer satisfaction

Published date13 November 2017
Date13 November 2017
AuthorRocío Alarcón López,Salvador Ruiz de Maya,Inés López López
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Information behaviour & retrieval,Collection building & management,Bibliometrics,Databases,Information & knowledge management,Information & communications technology,Internet,Records management & preservation,Document management
Sharing co-creation experiences
contributes to consumer
Rocío Alarcón López, Salvador Ruiz de Maya and Inés López López
Department of Marketing, School of Business and Economics,
Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, Spain
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effects of sharing co-creation experiences on
consumersbehavioral intentions. Increasingly often, companies interact with consumers and involve them in
value co-creation, especially in the virtual environment, while more and more consumers tend to share their
experiences and their related emotions socially. However, no research has addressed how the interplay of
these two variables influences consumer behavior.
Design/methodology/approach The authors conducted a preliminary study and a 2×2 between-
subjects experiment where co-creation and sharing of emotions were orthogonally manipulated. A total of 120
participants were randomly assigned to one of the four scenarios.
Findings The results show that not only do individuals participate in co-creation activities, but they also
tend to share such experiences socially. But more important from a literature contribution perspective,
the results confirm a joint effect of co-creation and sharing on satisfaction and repurchase intention.
Thus, the effect of co-creation can be bolstered by encouraging participants to share the experience with
other people.
Originality/value While we can better understand the effects of co-creation in particular contexts effects
such as that of sharing, the findings also contribute to the theoretical literature on social sharing of emotions
as it has not been related to co-creation activities before. The results are of special relevance for those
companies implementing co-creation activities, as they provide clues to increase the outcome of such
initiatives in terms of consumersresponses toward the firm.
Keywords Value co-creation, Satisfaction, Co-creation experience, Social sharing of emotions
Paper type Research paper
International brands are increasingly integrating consumers in their innovation processes.
As pointed out by Capgemini Consulting (2011) in their report on Customer Service in 2020:
Winning in a Digital World,the social media revolution has empowered customers to
co-create products. Companies such as Threadless or LEGO promote online communities
where users can generate and upload their own designs (Schreier et al., 2012). Through these
platforms, members can also participate in innovation-related activities such as rating
content or commenting other consumersposts. For example, the campaign Do Us A
Flavorlaunched by Lays on Facebook encourages fans to suggest new flavors for potato
chips. Similar initiatives are promoted by Dominos Pizza through Pizza Mogul,where
participants can design new pizza combinations and share them via social media, and
Starbucks with My Starbucks Idea,a platform where consumers share, vote and discuss a
wide variety of ideas and where the most popular suggestions are eventually introduced in
their stores worldwide. These actions prove firmstendency to involve consumers in value
co-creation, as previous literature has suggested (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004; Leclercq
et al., 2016), making it a salient research priority for marketing scholars (Ostrom et al., 2015).
This trend of engaging consumers in co-creation activities has also been favored by the new
information technologies and the diverse array of digital channels, which facilitate Online Information Review
Vol. 41 No. 7, 2017
pp. 969-984
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/OIR-09-2016-0267
Received 15 September 2016
Revised 8 March 2017
Accepted 27 June 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
This research was supported by the grant ECO2012-35766 from the Spanish Ministry of Economics
and Competitiveness. The authors also thank the support provided by Fundación Cajamurcia.
new forms of consumer-company interactions and easily provide firms with new ideas for
product design and development (Nambisan and Baron, 2010; Lee and Suh, 2016). These
examples also show that the co-creation experience is usually shared by participants
through online communities, Facebook or the company website, whose social function is
inherent. This is in line with the previous research demonstrating that consumers frequently
talk about their product-related experiences (Thompson, 1997; Wetzer et al., 2007; Bahl and
Milne, 2010). As such, consumers are prone to tell others about the co-creation activities they
were involved in. Consequently, co-creation should be studied taking into account
consumerssharing behavior.
Thus, while the co-creation process entails consumerspersonal engagement in activities
promoted by the company, such personal involvement may lead consumers to share their
co-creation experience with others. Social psychologists have coined the term social sharing
of emotions for individualssystematic need to talk about their experiences and related
emotions (Rimé, 2009). And recent research has proved that sharing experiences and
emotions positively contributes to consumers satisfaction and repatronage intentions after
a service failure (López-López et al., 2014).
However, although empirical studies have generated useful insights into social
sharing of emotions in the field of psychology (Rimé et al., 2011), evidence is scarce
in the marketing literature and, particularly, no research to date has examined the
consequences of socially sharing co-creation experiences. With the aim of filling this gap,
the goal of this paper is to demonstrate that social sharing of co-creation experiences
can boost the positive effect of co-creation on consumer satisfaction. Therefore, our
contribution is twofold: first, we extend knowledge on the consequences of implementing
value co-creation activities; second, we analyze whether the intertwined effect of value
co-creation and socially sharing the experience-related emotions leads to more favorable
consumersresponses. The structure of this paper is as follows. First, we review the
relevant literature on both value co-creation and social sharing, and propose a set of
hypotheses. Next, we present the results from a preliminary study and describe the
methodology used to conduct the main experiment. Then, results are reported and
conclusions are presented. Finally, we discuss the limitations of the study and suggest
some avenues for further research.
Literature review and hypotheses development
Value co-creation
Traditionally, firms developed their products and consumers accepted them passively.
In contrast, nowadays consumers have adopted a more active role, which represents a
source of competitive advantage for value creation, especially in the virtual environment
(Grönroos, 2011). The concept of co-creation refers to joint value creation through a process
in which providers and consumers systematically interact, share information, learn and
integrate resources (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2000, 2004). Co-creation enables companies
to effectively adapt to changing consumer needs (Etgar, 2008).
The term co-creation is frequently associated with new product development and may
involve collaboration at different stages of this process: idea generation, concept
development, product design, product testing or launch (Von Hippel and Katz, 2002).
Based on this conceptualization, Vargo and Lusch (2004) introduced the concept of
service-dominant logic, which claims that the consumer is not only a source of ideas, but
also he/she is a proactive co-creator of value through involvement in the entire service-value
chain (Vargo and Lusch, 2008). In other words, in this new context of consumer-company
collaboration, value is mutually created and exchanged to favor both counterparts.
Recently, Ranjan and Read (2016) have reviewed existing work on the topic of value
co-creation and have integrated the diversity of the theoretical elements in this field. In an

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