The value co-destruction process: a customer resource perspective

Anne M. Smith (Centre for Strategy and Marketing, The Open University Business School, Milton Keynes, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Publication date: 11 November 2013



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.

Research limitations/implications

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.

Practical implications

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.

Social implications

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.



M. Smith, A. (2013), "The value co-destruction process: a customer resource perspective", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 47 No. 11/12, pp. 1889-1909.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.