Co-production: A fair-weather syndrome?

  • Andreassen T
  • Gustafsson A
  • Gebauer H
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An emerging perspective in marketing considers customers as actively involved in the production, delivery and consumption of services. While different terms exist for this involvement – co-production, co-creation, prosumption – the underlying assumption is that customers are able and willing to be involved in the creation of value. In this paper, we build on Prahalad’s five elements of co-production (customer engagement, self- services, customer involvement, problem solving and co- designing), we investigate the assumed positive associations between these five elements and value co-production and the positive association between value co- production and behavioral intension. In line with existing research, our findings establish that customer engagement, self-services, customer involvement and co- designing are positively associated with value co-production, but the proposed positive association between problem solving and value co-production could not be supported in size and significance. It means that customers do not want to co- produce in all but one of the elements; problem solving. In other words, dissatisfied customers do not want to be involved in helping the company to find a solution to their problem. This finding is robust among high and low experienced users; neither group wants to be involved in problem solving. From this finding, we conclude that co-production is a fair-weather syndrome, i.e. only when the service functions as expected are customers willing to co-produce. The paper offers three theoretical and managerial contributions. We document that co-production is a multifaceted construct, but not all elements contribute equally to value co-production. Self-service and co-designing contribute strongly, whereas customer engagement and customer involvement contribute incrementally to value co-production. Supplementary, we disclose that co-production is not symmetric but rather asymmetric, i.e. co-production takes place only when things go right. Finally, as a side effect we provide a valid measurement scale for co-production.

Author-supplied keywords

  • co-creation
  • co-production
  • problem solving
  • service

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  • Tor W. Andreassen

  • Anders Gustafsson

  • Heiko Gebauer

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