Value Co-creation in Knowledge-intensive Business Services: A Multiple Case Study of How Service Providers Solve Inhibitors

Ingrid Haug & Sina Nestås Billing

Student thesis: Master thesis


Background/Purpose - Specialization, knowledge intensiveness, and technological complexity is growing in many industries, which creates unique opportunities for business transformation. Yet, firms lack competence and ability to exploit these alone, and engage Knowledge-Intensive Business Services (KIBS), i.e. consultancies. The collaborative process between consultancy and client has got increased attention the recent years, referred to as Value Co-Creation (VCC). Due to the inherent asymmetry between the parties knowledge bases this process often pose special challenges which needs to be managed to increase the chance of success. The purpose is thereby to advance theory on how inhibitors that strain VCC in KIBS engagements can be managed by the service provider to facilitate successful collaborations. Design/Methodology/Approach - This research adapts towards interpretivism and an abductive approach by using a qualitative mono-method. A multiple case study is conducted through ten semi-structured interviews with representatives from two firms that work with new technology development. Findings - The VCC process in the two cases consist of five collaborative activities with three essential components; trust, iterative process, and interdisciplinarity. This lay the foundation for the collaborative process where one has identified eight inhibitors to occur, which can be managed by the consultancy with five fundamental and overarching strategies. Practical implications - The results of the study provide managers and other actors with an overview of potential inhibitors that can occur in the VCC process, which can increase awareness around which hurdles that are important to manage. In addition, it provides practical examples and overarching strategies that are fundamental to use in conjunction by the service provider. The strategies can also guide the client towards a beneficial behavior. Originality/Value - This study provides an initial understanding into how the hurdles that may strain VCC are handled by proposing fundamental strategies that are important for a successful collaboration. The findings identify implications that benefit both service provider and service buyer in several ways. This research can possibly guide and stimulate future research in this field, and a number of areas are suggested.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and E-business, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages134