Technological innovations that resulted in the emergence and widespread adoption of digital communication in recent years have led to a surge of academic and practitioner interest in its implications for the co-creation of value and customer engagement. However, in comparison to the attention given to the study of customer engagement in consumer markets, few studies have examined its key role in business markets. This paper aims to examine the impact of digital communication on value co-creation and customer engagement in inter-organizational relationships in business networks.
Co-creation of value and customer engagement in business networks occurs among interconnected organizations that are partners in intermediate transactions. The paper develops a matrix of inter-organizational engagement among partners in business networks and propositions linking digital communication to value co-creation and inter-organizational engagement.
The relationships among network organizations may be characterized by the extent of relational exchange and inter-organizational bonds among them. Four types of inter-organizational engagement emerge: transactional partners, loyal partners, trusted partners and engaged partners. The partners co-create value to better satisfy customers.
The paper is an initial attempt to develop a conceptual understanding of customer engagement in business markets and formulate propositions that can be further investigated. Networks of partner organizations co-create value, altering their input and output markets, value addition and products, permitting greater flexibility and customization in satisfying the needs of customers.
The ability afforded by digital communication for real-time interactive communication enables individuals from multiple departments and hierarchical positions within multiple organizations dispersed across geographic locations and industries to maintain contact, quickly and easily communicate task information, build trust and commitment in long-term relationships with network partners and provide superior customer value.
The paper represents a unique attempt to understand the nature of customer engagement in business markets. It discusses how digital communication alters market transactions among partner organizations in a network by facilitating changes in their make/buy decisions. It develops a matrix of inter-organizational engagement in business networks and propositions that improve understanding of the customer engagement concept and provide the foundation for strategies to better satisfy customers.
Sashi, C.M. (2021), "Digital communication, value co-creation and customer engagement in business networks: a conceptual matrix and propositions", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 55 No. 6, pp. 1643-1663. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-01-2020-0023
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