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Customer value co-creation over the relationship life cycle

Jesus Cambra-Fierro (University Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla, Spain)
Iguacel Melero-Polo (University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
F. Javier Sese (University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 9 February 2018

Issue publication date: 10 May 2018




Drawing from the theory of relationship dynamics, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how the relationship life cycle moderates the link between relationship quality and customer value co-creation. As customer-firm relationships pass through different stages (exploration, buildup, maturity, and decline) characterized by distinct customer behaviors, this study proposes a dynamic conceptual framework.


A questionnaire was administered in financial services firms. The final valid sample comprised 2,000 individuals. Subjective customer information from the questionnaire was combined with objective data that the financial entity provided.


The results demonstrate that the relationship life cycle plays a key moderating role, revealing that, in the buildup and maturity stages, the influence of relationship quality on customer value co-creation is stronger than in the decline stage. However, for customers in the exploration stage, relationship quality does not lead to customer value co-creation behaviors.

Practical implications

As customer relationship stages are constantly evolving, this study provides companies with additional interesting tools to personalize business strategies and to adapt marketing investments to the specific situation of customers.


To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to consider how the relationship life cycle influences the strength with which relationship quality promotes customer value co-creation.



The authors would like to express their gratitude for the financial support received from the Spanish Government ECO2017-83993-P and from the Regional Government of Aragón (Generés S09).


Cambra-Fierro, J., Melero-Polo, I. and Sese, F.J. (2018), "Customer value co-creation over the relationship life cycle", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 336-355.



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