This paper aims to adopt a conservation of resources (COR) theoretical approach to examine the process of value co-destruction (VCD) emanating from the misuse of customer resources by organisations.
A critical incidents approach was adopted where 120 customers recounted their negative experiences. The analysis identified both the nature of resources and processes involved.
From a customer perspective, the VCD process is triggered by a failure of the resource integration process to co-create expected value (resources). This involves customers in unexpected primary, and often secondary, resource loss. Loss “cycles” or “spirals” develop impacting negatively on well-being. Customers' attempts to restore their resources through coping strategies typically involve loss of well-being for the organisation.
The research is limited to a relatively small sample of UK customers involving diverse contexts. However, COR theory provides a framework for a better understanding of customer perceived value, the value co-creation and co-destruction process.
The findings offer a new perspective to practitioners for understanding customer expectations and behaviour. There is a need to re-evaluate and re-design value propositions in line with organisational capabilities and customers' resource needs.
Organisations' misuse of customers' resources negatively impacts on “well-being”: a phenomenon of increasing interest at the societal level.
This study is the first to empirically examine the concept of VCD, as perceived and experienced by customers, from a resource ecology perspective. It contributes to the growing body of work deriving from the service-dominant logic approach to value co-creation.
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