Customers as “partial” employees of organizations: good or bad?

Weiling Zhuang (College of Business and Technology, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)
Barry J. Babin (College of Business, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana, USA)
Adilson Borges (NEOMA Business School, Mont-Saint-Aignan, Haute-Normandie, France)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Publication date: 19 June 2019



The purpose of this study is to address the following research questions: How do customer input and service provider (in this study, the terms firm and service provider are used interchangeably) input coproduce customer experience and response? Do different components of customer input influence customer experience differently?


Structural equation modeling (SEM) was adopted to conduct tests of the measurement model and the main hypotheses represented in Figure 1. LISREL 8.80 (Jöreskog and Sörbom, 1993) was applied for data analysis in the current study. A survey instrument was designed and used to gather data for use in this study. Data were collected using an online survey administration tool (


The results indicate that two dimensions of customer participation – information resource and codeveloper activities – demonstrate distinct impacts on customers’ responses. Specifically, customer participation (information resource) is negatively related to customer shopping values and satisfaction. However, another dimension of customer participation (codeveloper activities) is positively related to the same outcomes.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is among the first to integrate customer participation and customer orientation to understand the phenomenon of customer co-creation. The study applies for a two-dimensional customer input construct and empirically tests their impacts on customer experience. Both utilitarian value and hedonic value are included in the research framework to assess customer value experience.



Zhuang, W., Babin, B. and Borges, A. (2019), "Customers as “partial” employees of organizations: good or bad?", Management Research Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.