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A critical review on value co-creation: towards a contingency framework and research agenda

Xueqin Wang (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Yiik Diew Wong (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Chee-Chong Teo (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Kum Fai Yuen (Department of International Logistics, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, The Republic of Korea)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 7 June 2019

Issue publication date: 21 August 2019




Although a dominant marketing concept, value co-creation (VCC) is not without controversy. Inspired by value co-destruction (VCD), the purpose of this paper is to review the scattered literature on the uncertainties in collaborative value formation, synthesising contingency factors of value outcomes in VCC.


The paper is based on an examination of 84 peer-reviewed journal articles. Recognising the drawbacks of the macroscopic abstraction in existing the VCC literature, the authors adopt a zooming-in approach to identify distinct patterns of contingency factors in the collaborative value-formation process.


From a macro-social perspective, VCC may connote a sense of exploitation of “consumers” and a need for consumer control of “producers”, impeding harmonious value formation. Zooming into actor-to-actor interactions, the collaborative relationship is found to be a source of uncertainties in value formation, which is further complicated by differences in the knowledge intensities of services. Finally, reviewing the individual consumer reveals a most nuanced picture that demonstrates heterogeneities of consumers’ VCC involvement and complexities in their perceptions and behaviours. Five propositions and a contingency framework are proposed.

Research limitations/implications

Six value formation mechanisms are proposed based on interconnected and multi-level perspectives, providing implications for managers and future researchers.


This paper contributes to rebalancing VCC research by synthesising insights on the potential contingencies, which are relatively under-explored yet vital to keep the controversy alive and relevant, and re-invigorating business processes.



Wang, X., Wong, Y.D., Teo, C.-C. and Yuen, K.F. (2019), "A critical review on value co-creation: towards a contingency framework and research agenda", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 165-188.



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