To read this content please select one of the options below:

When lock-ins impede value co-creation in service

Anette Svingstedt (Department of Service Management and Service Studies, Lund University, Helsingborg, Sweden)
Hervé Corvellec (Department of Service Management and Service Studies, Lund University, Helsingborg, Sweden)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 19 March 2018




This paper aims to demonstrate the relevance of identifying lock-ins that characterise a service, showing how lock-ins or impediments reinforce the status quo and prevent change. It provides an understanding of the factors hindering the development of value co-creation in this service.


The study is based on 19 semi-structured interviews with representatives of the Swedish waste management industry. It focusses on the difficulties that waste management companies encounter when they try to collaborate with their industrial customers to develop waste prevention services.


Four lock-ins that impede collaborative ways of working are identified: a business model based on short-term transactions rather than long-term relationships, a low level of self-confidence among waste managers regarding their competence to offer waste prevention services, non-supportive legal and economic institutional factors and existing waste processing infrastructures.

Research limitations/implications

Based on a case of waste services and to provide a better understanding of the rationale of value co-creation, this paper points to the generic relevance of investigating situations in which value co-creation encounters difficulties.

Practical implications

The authors identify the fact that lock-ins impeding value co-creation can act as a roadmap for the development of new services.


By focusing on a case of unsuccessful value co-creation, the paper offers a counterpoint to cases of successful value co-creation.



This research project has been co-financed by Plattformen, a research foundation within the municipality of Helsingborgs stad, and the Swedish Research Council FORMAS (Research project From waste management to waste prevention; grant: 259-2013-120). We are grateful to the informants who have generously shared their knowledge and their time with us, in particular at NSR.


Svingstedt, A. and Corvellec, H. (2018), "When lock-ins impede value co-creation in service", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 2-15.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles