Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)



First Advisor

Barry Babin


A unified subject matter defines every scientific discipline. Marketing then, like other disciplines, consists of a finite set of core concepts. This dissertation focuses specifically on the core concept of "value" as being among the most central of concepts and more specifically elaborates theoretically on the concept of value-in-use. Historically, marketing's received view suggests customer satisfaction is a key contributor to firm success. However, the extant literature reports a weak relation between customer satisfaction and a firm's organizational performance (Woodruff, 1997). This dissertation makes a theoretical case for value as among the most telling metrics in all of marketing and considers the extent to which value drives marketing and business performance.

The recent paradigm shift toward a service-dominant logic (SDL) suggests that the underlying premise of any exchange relationship is for parties to perform activities for each other that create value (Vargo and Lusch 2004). A strong conceptual background of value-in-use exists in the SDL literature, but to date the concept remains unintegrated into the larger theoretical net. The advancement of SDL requires a theoretically sound and well-delineated value-in-use construct. This research builds on previous theory on value and its role in capturing marketing outcomes for consumers and businesses (Zeithaml 1988; Babin, Darden and Griffin 1994).

A multipronged research approach is taken. Interpretive research provides in-depth descriptions of value expressions and the meanings of experience. A descriptive research approach in the form of a broad-based consumer survey allows the development and testing of a measurement theory necessary to examine research questions related to value, satisfaction and performance. The survey employs a representative sample of US consumers obtained through a worldwide online-panel firm. A graphic overview of the potential conceptual framework is as follows:*

The study offers a three-fold contribution. First, a thorough development of the evolutionary concept of value-in-use is undertaken. A shift in focus from "value in exchange" to "value-in-use" provides an important strategic development to the marketing discipline. The majority of value studies conducted through marketing history assess consumers' "value perceptions" before consumption takes place and are therefore more representative of "value expectation" than of value itself.

Second, an assessment of the relationship between value, satisfaction, and quality with business performance measures will enable managers to employ the best marketing customer metric with the performance measures that are most valuable to the firm. Overcoming the customer satisfaction trap with more appropriate concepts that actually relate to firm outcome measures will be a contribution to both the academic and practitioner literature (Dahlsten 2003). In other words, firms that pursue customer satisfaction at the expense of value are caught in a trap if value is more critical in shaping performance than is satisfaction.

Third, this dissertation matches select firms in two industries consistent with the American Satisfaction Index. The two industries are airlines and retailers. Department stores, discount stores, and supermarkets comprise the retailers. The present samples will allow assessment of the value measure across different contexts to provide further evidence of the impact of value.

Key results point to a correlation between hedonic value, overall value, and performance metrics including ROA and EPS in the retail context. Contextual differences emerged with respect to retailers' success with utilitarian value and airlines' success with hedonic value. The use of an overall value question, in conjunction with satisfaction, directly relating to outcome variables including loyalty and performance variables met with mixed success.

Included in

Marketing Commons