An Exploratory Study into the Phenomenon Consumer Burnout: Its Antecedents and Consequences

Anne Sofie Stensballe Halby

Student thesis: Master thesis


The benefits of value co-creation in the service experience are well recognized among practitioners and academics. However, little is known about the negative sides of cocreation for customers. Since, the customer’s role has changed from passive to that of actively co-creating service experiences it is proposed that the demands on the customer, stemming from the service interactions, are equal to that of work. While in an organizational context, work have been shown in research, for the past 60 years, to have a negative consequence for some employees, creating a state of burnout. The phenomenon burnout has previously not been investigated in the context of consumers. Nevertheless, in this exploratory study founded on Service-Dominant logic, employee burnout research, and engagement literature it is proposed that the co-creating service experience might be perceived as work for the consumer. Thus leading to customers experiencing burnout toward a company because of their role in the service experience. In an attempt of establishing this new construct, consumer burnout, the study proposes a conceptual model of consumer burnout trying to determine its possible antecedents and consequences. The model is developed through an extensive literature review of relevant literature and research. The aim of the study is to explore why consumer burnout occur, by testing the conjectured hypotheses build upon the conceptual model. Role clarity, self-efficacy, and customer participation are tested as possible predictors, while customer satisfaction and engagement are investigated in term of outcomes. Word-of-mouth communication and intentions toward future co-creation are also included in the conceptual model, in order to see how burnout might impact these behavioral manifestations. The research undertaken is that of a deductive nature, founded on quantitative primary data gathered for the sole purpose of conducting research into this newly emerging concept. The findings indicate that burnout do occur in the context of consumers, however not all of the associations suggested in the model were shown to be significant. Thus, leaving room for future research to investigate the concept further in terms of predictors. By conceptualizing the concept, it can potentially help managers to prevent and deal with consumer burnout.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages93