Purpose – We investigate the tension between unique and collective value perceptions using an institutional perspective. In particular, we aim to provide a deeper understanding of value evaluation processes and point to the systemic nature of these processes by conceptually integrating the notions of interpretive flexibility and institutional work into a service ecosystems framework.
Design/Methodology/approach – The paper, based on recent developments in S-D logic, conceptually revisits the topic of value perceptions. More specifically, it draws on a service ecosystems framework and its inherent institutional view (Lusch and Vargo, 2014; Vargo and Akaka, 2012; Vargo and Lusch, 2011; Vargo et al. 2014), and the concepts of interpretive flexibility (Pinch, 2008; Pinch and Bijker, 1984) and institutional work (Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006; Lawrence et al., 2009) to provide a deeper understanding of determining value-in-context.
Findings – Service-dominant (S-D) logic describes value perceptions as contextual and phenomenologically determined (Chandler and Vargo, 2011; Vargo and Lusch, 2008). At the same time, value perceptions are neither random nor unstructured (Lusch and Vargo, 2014). Culture, for example, can greatly influence how value is perceived. More specifically, institutional configurations – socially constructed systems of norms, values, and beliefs – guide the evaluation of value outcomes in the same way that they enable and constrain the process of value co-creation (c.f. Edvardsson et al. 2011; Lusch and Vargo, 2014; Vargo et al. 2014). By integrating the concepts of interpretive flexibility and institutional work into the service ecosystem framework, we not only show how institutional configurations influence value perceptions, but how multiple actors co-create institutions that influence value perceptions through multiple iterations of institutional developments until common institutional templates become diffused.
Research implications – This paper highlights the importance of developing a more systemic and institutional understanding of the perception and determination of value.
Practical implications – The systemic view adopted in this paper points to the notion that nested contradictions and inconsistencies are foundational to all institutional configurations and, thus, to value perceptions. We will show that actors resolve these contradictions and inconsistencies through systemic and discursive processes, which means that market communication needs to be reconceptualized from unidirectional communication flows directed at customers to the co-creation of narrative infrastructures.
Originality/value – This paper is among the first to explicitly connect the notions of institutional work and interpretive flexibility with value perceptions and their change overtime.
Key words – Value-in-context, Value evaluation, Institutions, Service ecosystems, Interpretive flexibility
Paper type – Conceptual paper
Value-in-context, Value evaluation, Institutions, Service ecosystems, Interpretive flexibility