Examining positive and negative value-in-use in a complex service setting

Jillian C. Sweeney, Carolin Plewa, Ralf Zurbruegg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to advance research and practice on value, and more specifically value-in-use, by enhancing knowledge of not only positive but also negative value-in-use facets in a complex relational context, developing a psychometrically sound measure of these facets and evaluating their effect on various outcome measures across different customer segments. Design/methodology/approach: A three-stage study was undertaken in the professional service context of financial planning. Following a qualitative stage identifying positive and negative facets of value-in-use, a measurement scale was developed and tested, and extended analysis was undertaken through two quantitative stages. Findings: The findings provide converging evidence that clients in the study context realise value-in-use, defined in this study at a benefit rather than outcome level, through nine core facets, four positive (expertise, education, motivation, convenience) and five negative (monetary, time and effort, lifestyle, emotional [financial planner], emotional [situation]). While all nine facets impact on at least one of the investigated outcomes, results show that, overall, positive value-in-use facets outweigh the negative ones, with the impact of facets varying depending on client factors (such as customer participation and time to retirement). Originality/value: The primary contributions of this paper lie in the conceptualisation and measurement of both positive and negative value-in-use facets and their interplay in generating customer outcomes, as well as in the development of a psychometrically sound measure of this construct. Negative value-in-use facets have not been explored to date, despite consumers being sometimes more concerned with risks than gains. Furthermore, the research offers novel insight into the impact of both positive and negative value-in-use on relevant outcomes, while also offering evidence as to the importance of segmentation dimensions in this context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1084-1106
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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