Value co‐creation: theoretical approaches and practical implications

Hannu Saarijärvi (School of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
P.K. Kannan (Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA)
Hannu Kuusela (School of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Publication date: 4 January 2013



Existing research suggests a multitude of approaches to value co‐creation that bring with them a range of different ideas on what constitutes the concept. The purpose of this paper is to identify the sources of the differing approaches, and so reduce the complexity of the concept and develop a business‐oriented analytical framework for assessing the opportunities presented by value co‐creation.


Through exploration of the different theoretical approaches to value co‐creation the sources of friction are identified. Addressing the conceptual complexity provides a sound basis for the development of a business‐oriented analytical framework.


The multifaceted nature of value co‐creation arises owing to the differing approaches to what determines the value, the co‐, and the creation elements of the concept. The study concludes that both scholars and practitioners should focus more on identifying and understanding what kind of value is co‐created for whom, using what resources, and through what mechanism.

Practical implications

A business‐oriented analytical framework is developed that helps practitioners to assess and approach the opportunities presented by value co‐creation.


The paper introduces an analytical and fresh perspective on value co‐creation. It helps to clarify the nuances in the nature of the concept and contributes to an enhanced understanding of it.



Saarijärvi, H., Kannan, P. and Kuusela, H. (2013), "Value co‐creation: theoretical approaches and practical implications", European Business Review, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 6-19.

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