Enabling Service Co-production: A Theory-building Case Study

Audrey Grace, Rob Gleasure, Patrick Finnegan, Tom Butler

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Service co-production between professionals and customers is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional “off the shelf” models of service delivery. There is, however, little empirical research describing how services are co-produced with individual customers, nor the most suitable roles for IS/IT in this co-production. This study unpacks how services are co-produced by developing a substantive Theory of Service Co-Production activities (and mediating contextual factors) in the financial services sector. A two-phase theory-building approach is employed. First, a preliminary model is derived based on Activity Theory and extant research. Second, this preliminary model is refined and elaborated upon through an extensive empirical analysis of the co-production of financial services. The study further reveals four key contradictions driving service co-production. These contradictions highlight the incomplete alignment of motives and goals between service professionals and customers, as well as the trickle-down IS/IT impact of this misalignment. The study concludes by discussing the enabling and constraining influence of IS/IT in service co-production.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Information Systems
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)413-438
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online: 15. March 2019


  • Service co-production
  • Financial services
  • Activity Theory
  • Case study

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