When customers behave badly: Psychological antecedents and dynamics of value co-destruction in service experiences

Joanne M. Tran, Louisiana Tech University


The notion of consumer misbehavior has gain more attention in recent years challenging the old adage that "the customer is always right." This is also evident in the value co-creation literature in which certain behaviors, such as consumer participation, may result in undesired consequences. However, only a handful of researchers have begun to view this alternative side to value co-creation. As such, this dissertation seeks to gain a better understanding of the manifestations and traits of value co-destruction (VCD), the opposite possibility of value co-creation. Here, VCD refers to the decline in value created together by a provider and consumer from their interactions and experiences that result in resource disintegration.

From a service-dominant logic perspective, the current study argues the propensity of consumers contributing negative value to the co-creation process through resource disintegration. That is, if resources are misused or applied the wrong way, then the value potential is not realized from the dyad. Using a typology of value destruction, the study focuses on consumers' involuntary diminutive effects in the service experience. By utilizing a multi-method approach including a critical incident technique and experimental design, the findings reveal that certain factors and predispositions do encourage VCD and therefore, influence service relationship outcomes. As such, the findings offer a new perspective for practitioners to bridge the gap between employee training for firms and successful service recovery.