A classification schema of co-production of goods: an open-systems perspective

Fernando R. Jiménez (Department of Marketing and Management, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA)
Kevin E. Voss (Department of Marketing, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA)
Gary L. Frankwick (Department of Marketing and Management, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Publication date: 11 November 2013



A growing body of literature reveals that the domain of customer co-production of goods is expansive. Many research articles in the area of co-production of goods, however, have focused on specific sub-areas within the larger domain. One result of these multiple lines of inquiry is that they establish overlapping construct names and definitions. The purpose of this article is to propose a classification schema of customer co-production of goods based on general systems theory (GST).


A logical partitioning approach was employed.


A classification schema of co-production of goods is derived from two criteria: the nature of the customer's input and the customer's autonomy. The classification suggests six sub-areas of co-production of goods: restricted co-manufacturing, unrestricted co-manufacturing, co-ideation, co-design, mass customization, and participation loop.

Practical implications

The distinction of activities involving co-production of goods guides practitioners in the generalization of research findings and the selection of participation opportunities for their customers.


This study proposes the first classification schema of co-production activities resulting in tangible goods. The classification reduces the overlap of constructs and definitions, defines the domain of co-production of goods, aids in the construction of nomological networks, and delimits generalizations drawn from empirical research. The authors recommend that researchers interested in co-production of goods should use the schema to guide their theory development and empirical research designs.



R. Jiménez, F., E. Voss, K. and L. Frankwick, G. (2013), "A classification schema of co-production of goods: an open-systems perspective", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 47 No. 11/12, pp. 1841-1858. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-09-2011-0459

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