Discovering the role of Co-creation in consultancy: A Grounded Theory study

Josefin Jaengkittichai

Student thesis: Master thesis


Co-creation has been defined by researchers (Ramaswamy & Gouillart, 2010) as “the practice of developing systems, products or services through collaboration with customers, managers, employees, and other company stakeholders”. In contrast, little attention has been focused on the specific constraints and characteristics of consulting transactions (Glückler & Armbrüster, 2002). With the purpose to understand the phenomenon of co-creation in consultancy, a research question has been created: “How does a consultancy utilize co-creation?” Grounded theory methodology has been employed to collect empirical data from a single case study. Participant observer research was carried out over a three month period to study co-creation attempts as exercised by a consultancy. A review of literature has been delayed in accordance to methodological considerations. Post-analysis of empirical findings and theoretical perspectives on consultancy, co-creation and organizational learning has been weaved into the discussion in an attempt to explain the mechanisms of the occurring phenomenon. Findings from research established that the consultancy failed to co-create the co-creational object. Subsequently, an additional research question was created: “Why does a consultancy utilize co-creation?” Empirical evidence continued to demonstrate a paradoxical relationship between the attempts at co-creation and the role characterizing the consultancy´s work with clients as a neutral supplier of confidential and discrete information. Despite failure at achieving the primary goal of unique value creation, findings indicated that the consultancy gained valuable knowledge about customers, the process of co-creation and new business opportunities. This accumulation of knowledge throughout the attempts at co-creation implies that the consultancy functions as a hybrid role between process- and expert consultants, shifting towards the latter as knowledge and learning about a phenomenon increase. These secondary outcomes were found to serve as sufficient motive for the consultancy to repeat co-creation attempts in spite of their failure to meet the primary goal.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages119