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In their shoes: co-creating value from deaf/hearing perspectives

Alexandra K. Abney (Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA)
Allyn White (Department of Marketing, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, USA)
Kevin J. Shanahan (Department of Marketing and Quantitative Analysis, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, USA)
William B. Locander (Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




This research investigates new innovative service models that provide opportunities for hearing and deaf individuals to switch roles within a co-created service encounter to allow for an enhanced perspective-taking experience. The purpose of this paper is to gain an in-depth understanding of deaf individuals’ experience working within such models using their preferred language, American sign language, to interact with a primarily hearing-majority customer base.


Data were collected for two studies through qualitative depth-interviews with both the deaf service employees and the hearing-majority customers from a North American restaurant founded on this innovative service model.


Results of these studies yield new insights into understanding the value generated for both the minority and majority populations within this co-creation platform. Notably, the deaf employees primarily recognize the transformative value derived from this service experience, whereas the hearing customers note the missing habitual value elements to which they are accustomed in traditional service encounters that inhibit repatronage intentions.


This is the first study to investigate the interpersonal service experience of deaf and hearing individuals within these emerging service models. Further, this research represents an initial attempt to explore a co-creative service experience between two different cultures, the deaf-minority and hearing-majority populations, with differing levels of ability.



Abney, A.K., White, A., Shanahan, K.J. and Locander, W.B. (2017), "In their shoes: co-creating value from deaf/hearing perspectives", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 4/5, pp. 313-325.



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