Value Co-creation in Subsistence Markets: Microenterprises and Financial Services firms in Ghana
Abbam Elliot, Esi
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There is increasing interest in changing customers’ role from passive adopters of product-services to equal partners in the process of adding value (Reichwald et al., 2003). One manifestation of this interest is value co-creation. Value co-creation has been defined as collaboration between a firm-provider and its customers to jointly create value (Vargo and Lusch, 2004), with value defined as a trade-off between benefits and costs obtained by both the customer and firm-provider. This study seeks a more comprehensive understanding of value co-creation by investigating value co-creation in the context of subsistence markets, characterized by poverty and weak business infrastructures. This investigation provides insights that take into account the simultaneous learning of both firm-providers and their customers and considers the application of creativity techniques. Furthermore, the focus is on microenterprise customers as against individual consumers or larger firms. Additionally, the study examines how socio-cultural and environmental factors in subsistence markets impact the value co-creation process and the types of value that are co-created. The study uses a qualitative method in the form of phenomenological interviews, observations and photography to investigate the research questions. The context of study is relationship managers of financial services firms and their microenterprises customers in Ghana, West Africa. Based on the findings, this research re-conceptualizes value co-creation activities to include a) ‘relationship-based creativity’, an approach which applies creativity techniques drawn from relationships; b) collateral learning, a collaborative form of learning, which has scale impact; and c) considerations of cultural underpinnings during collaboration and dialogical interactions. Additionally, this study contributes the concept of value-in-transformational-context and value-in-cultural context as additional types of value. Findings from this study extend theories of value co-creation by incorporating perspectives of subsistence markets and also extend theories of creativity, culture and collateral learning.
Financial Services Firms