Understanding value co-creation in complex services with many actors

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Gabriela Beirão
Lia Patrício
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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of value co-creation in complex value networks with many actors. Electronic health records (EHRs) are innovations that warrant deep study to properly introduce such a complex system. Design/methodology/approach - The paper describes a qualitative study based on Grounded Theory to understand value co-creation from multiple actors' perspectives in a National EHR Service Project: the Portuguese Health Data Platform. Findings - Study results enabled further development of the value co-creation concept in complex environments with multiple actors. More specifically they allowed: operationalizing the value co-creation concept by identifying its factors and outcomes, understanding how value co-creation factors and outcomes are interconnected, and understanding of how value co-creation for each actor depends on his/her own actions and the actions of other actors, in a complex set of interactions and interdependencies. Practical implications - The findings have implications for service managers seeking to understand how actors participating in the network integrate resources and interact to co-create value. The study highlights the need for designing and managing services to co-create value, not only by enabling dyadic interactions between the customer and the service provider, but also by supporting and enabling value co-creation interactions among different actors in the network. Originality/value - This study responds to the need for empirical research on value co-creation in many-to-many contexts and for operationalizing the value co-creation concept.