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Legitimated consumption: a socially embedded challenge for entrepreneurs’ value creation

Laura Niemi (School of Economics, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Jenni Kantola (Department of Management, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1471-5201

Article publication date: 28 June 2018

Issue publication date: 30 October 2018

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to address the general lack of detailed attention to the value co-creation process which happens in the consumers’ social environment. The purpose of the paper is to extend prior understanding on new ways of creating value within an uncertain and complex small business environment where consumers are increasingly collaborating and constructing value within their own social environment that is not always visible to entrepreneurs.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors collected in-depth data from craft beer consumers who detail consumers’ perspectives on value co-creation within their social context. Discourse analysis is used to examine the ways in which consumers create value within their social environment. Discourses are generated through in-depth, semi-structured interviews.

Findings

The findings reveal that a significant part of value creation happens outside the entrepreneurs’ control. Consumers seek to have social experiences which they want to experience individually but not alone. Accordingly, the legitimacy of a certain type of consumption creates a basis for consumers’ self-presentations and situational selves, on which value can be built.

Originality/value

This study offers new insights into how contemporary consumers work together to co-create value. In addition, this study answers the call for scholarly attention to consumer-to-consumer value linkages to gain new understandings of socially constructed value and contemporary consumption behaviour and reveals how entrepreneurs can benefit from this.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dr Nicole Coviello for her comments and constructive feedback on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Citation

Niemi, L. and Kantola, J. (2018), "Legitimated consumption: a socially embedded challenge for entrepreneurs’ value creation", Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 214-228. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRME-10-2016-0038

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited