Consumer interaction as intellectual capital

Fiona Sussan (School of Management, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Publication date: 13 January 2012



The purpose of this paper is to categorize customer‐to‐customer (C2C) interaction as a sub‐component of relational capital and conceptualize C2C interaction adding value to business‐to‐customer (B2C) relational capital.


This work empirically tests the concept of C2C interaction and its added value to a firm's B2C relationship within the movie industry. Both business data and consumer interaction from blockbuster movies are collected to test their impact on movie sales.


The results support the hypotheses that C2C interaction (user messages on Yahoo movie message board) adds more explanation to movie sales than B2C interaction (advertising budget) alone, and that there is an inverse relationship between the impact of a firm's B2C interaction and C2C interaction on a firm's sales performance, with the former diminishing over time and the latter increasing over time.

Research limitations/implications

For intellectual capital (IC) researchers, the main implication from the results of this paper is that the value of C2C is “in addition” to the existing customer relations already managed by the firm. The results of this paper confirm C2C relational capital within the movie context. Future research should use more textual‐based data to evaluate the positive and negative consumer interactions and their impact on IC value.

Practical implications

The findings of this paper stress the importance of practitioners, including the voice of customers in their financial reporting. Managers can now extract and incorporate the content of C2C interaction to a firm's day‐to‐day decision‐making process.


The originality of this paper resides in extending relational capital conceptual framework by dividing relational capital into B2C and C2C subcomponents, hypothesizing the added value of C2C interaction to B2C relational capital and the inverse relationship between B2C and C2C relational capital over time, and empirically providing a reference sample for practitioners for future IC reporting.



Sussan, F. (2012), "Consumer interaction as intellectual capital", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 81-105.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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