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Social layers of customer-to-customer value co-creation

Ivana Rihova (School of Tourism, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Dimitrios Buhalis (International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Miguel Moital (School of Tourism, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Mary Beth Gouthro (School of Tourism, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 7 October 2013




Approached from the customer-dominant (C-D) logic perspective, this paper aims to extend current value co-creation discussions by providing conceptual insights into co-creation within customers' social sphere. Focusing on socially dense contexts in which customers consume together in dyads or collectives, the paper seeks to provide recommendations of how service managers can facilitate customer-to-customer (C2C) co-creation.


The paper bridges current thinking on value within the C-D logic with service management perspectives on C2C interactions and social science concepts on consumer communities. Examples from literature and practice are drawn on in the discussion.


The proposed framework reveals C2C co-creation as a dynamic, multi-layered process that is embedded in customers' social contexts. Value emerges in four distinctive social layers: “detached customers”, “social bubble”, “temporary communitas” and “ongoing neo-tribes”.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is conceptual. Further validation of the framework in a variety of socially dense consumption settings is needed, using field-based qualitative methods such as participant observation and interviews.

Practical implications

Awareness of the multi-layered nature of C2C co-creation and specific practices in which value is formed provides service managers with opportunities to create value propositions that help facilitate such co-creation. Service managers across various sectors benefit from understanding how customers can be “nudged” into more socially immersive co-creation layers.


The paper contributes by introducing a C2C co-creation perspective, conceptualizing the social layers within which value is formed, and providing specific propositions to service managers with regard to servicescape structuring and other strategies that facilitate C2C co-creation.



The authors wish to thank the SERVSIG Special Issue guest editors and anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, insights and recommendations.


Rihova, I., Buhalis, D., Moital, M. and Beth Gouthro, M. (2013), "Social layers of customer-to-customer value co-creation", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 553-566.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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