To read this content please select one of the options below:

Theory of value co-creation: a systematic literature review

Marco Galvagno (Department of Economics and Business, University of Catania, Catania, Italy)
Daniele Dalli (Department of Economics and Management, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy)

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal

ISSN: 0960-4529

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to summarize and classify extant research and to better understand the past, present, and future state of the theory of value co-creation. Its main objectives are: to identify the different theoretical perspectives and research streams that characterize and define the co-creation literature, and to highlight the connections between them; to look for emerging trends and gaps in the literature by comparing the most recent papers with those representing the field's core.


The paper relies on bibliometric data: co-citation techniques were employed to select, analyze, and interpret citation patterns within the co-creation literature.


The paper identified two main clusters, as well as specific research streams and common themes, representing scholarly journals’ publications on co-creation over the past years. These research streams and themes apply three different theoretical perspectives: service science, innovation and technology management, and marketing and consumer research. Data from the most recent publications has been used to verify if and how the original streams and themes are reflected in the contemporary debate.

Research limitations/implications

Inevitably, the findings of the analysis have limitations related to the research design, the databases, and the applied bibliometric methods.

Practical implications

From a practical perspective, the research impacts on theory building, management decision making, and teaching.


This study depicts the remarkable development of the literature on co-creation and shows the latent structure underlying its different research streams. To the best knowledge, this study is the first to determine co-citation frequencies from both the SSCI and Scopus databases.



The authors sincerely thank the two anonymous reviewers and the participants at the 2013 Naples Forum on Service in Ischia for their fruitful comments during the development of this paper.


Galvagno, M. and Dalli, D. (2014), "Theory of value co-creation: a systematic literature review", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 643-683.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles