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Defective co-creation: Developing a typology of consumer dysfunction in professional services

Dominique A. Greer (School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




This study aims to explore the scope of consumers’ defective co-creation behaviour in professional service encounters. One of the founding premises of service-dominant logic (Vargo and Lusch, 2004, 2008) is that consumers co-create the value they derive from service encounters. In practice, however, dysfunctional consumer behaviour can obstruct value co-creation. Extant research has not yet investigated consumers’ defective co-creation behaviour in highly relational services, such as professional services, that are heavily reliant on co-creation.


To investigate defective co-creation in professional services, 164 critical incidents were collected from 38 health-care and financial service providers using the critical incident technique within semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Thematic coding was used to identify emergent themes and patterns of consumer behaviour.


Thematic coding resulted in a comprehensive typology of consumers’ defective co-creation behaviour that both confirms the prevalence of previously identified dysfunctional behaviours (e.g. verbal abuse and physical aggression) and identifies two new forms of consumer misbehaviour: underparticipation and overparticipation. Further, these behaviours can vary, escalate and co-occur during service encounters.


Both underparticipation and overparticipation are newly identified forms of defective co-creation that need to be examined within the broader framework of service-dominant logic (SDL).



This article is based on the author’s doctoral thesis, which was completed at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. The author would like to thank her advisors Professor Rebekah Russell-Bennett, Dr Alastair Tombs and Professor Judy Drennan for their constructive comments on earlier versions. This manuscript was vastly improved by the comments of Professor Dawn Iacobucci, Associate Professor Ian Lings, Professor Brett Martin, Professor Charles L. Martin and three anonymous reviewers.


Greer, D.A. (2015), "Defective co-creation: Developing a typology of consumer dysfunction in professional services", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 49 No. 1/2, pp. 238-261.



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