Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary
Taking a system view on customer value creation

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Publication Details
Author list: Åslund, Anna
Publisher: Mid Sweden University
Place: Östersund
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-91-88025-68-5

Abstract

In Quality Management and Total Quality Management (TQM) customer focus and customer value creation is of importance and in organisations it is of high priority. Quality Management has had an internal focus when it comes to customer value creation but in the 21st century there is a need for an outward orientation and to go beyond the organisational borders. Also an increasing interest in social, societal and environmental issues can be seen, for instance by customers, organisations, quality awards and within the quality area. An area that considers these issues is the societal entrepreneurial sector.

The purpose of this thesis has been to contribute to the knowledge and understanding about customer value creation from a system view. Additionally the purpose has been to contribute to the development of Quality Management. In order to fulfil the purpose, case studies have been performed. Cases within the societal entrepreneurial area have been studied and seven studies have been performed. Data have been collected through interviews, direct observations, participating observations and documents. All data have been collected empirically except in one study where a literature case study was used. The data were analysed through tools such as process mapping, attribute value mapping and rich picture process maps combined with analytical methods for case study research. The research journey started out from TQM and an internal perspective on customer value creation. As the studies went on, the system borders became wider as other areas important to customer value creation were identified: the customer value creating system went from an internal perspective to include an external perspective.

The findings contribute to earlier research findings and give a comprehensive and simplified picture of a complex phenomenon and an opportunity to understand customer value creation from a system view. This thesis provides an overall map of the customer value creating system. Additionally it contributes to the development of Quality Management by expanding the view on customer value creation to include both an internal and an external oriented perspective. It also contributes by suggesting a fifth step in the quality management movement ´System Quality Management´ that considers social, societal and environmental factors through continuous improvement before, during and after value creation for customers. Further it contributes with a developed view on customers and the concept of customer value creation.

The overall map provided includes three areas.

  1. Growth and development of societal entrepreneurial initiatives. The result shows important components for the creation of societal value based on the growth and development of societal entrepreneurial initiatives. Included are the processes, input and output important for societal value creation from unidentified needs until societal value can be delivered, management process and support process fields.

  2. Customer value creation in the customer sphere. Customer value has been found to be created beyond the use or purchase of a product or service. Value has also been found to be created for those that are not in direct contact with an initiative or its product or service. Customer value has been found to spread into society like ripples in a complex system of value creation. And Value Ripple Logic has been developed to describe this phenomenon.

  3. Management role in customer value creation. The management’s role in value creation has been found to be of importance in the creation of customer value in an indirect way through interaction with the surroundings and the initiative. Factors and behaviours have been found which are connected to the leaders and their essential management processes along with their input and output.

The findings presented in this thesis have considerable potential for development. Further studies need to be done within the area concerning how customer value is created and to achieve an even more comprehensive picture of the customer value creating system and the suggested fifth step. The results presented in this thesis are a contribution to the knowledge and understanding about customer value creation from a system view and the development of the Quality Management.


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