Value co-creation trajectories of customer solutions : the influence of low customer readiness and Arabian business culture
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Customer solutions involve a combination of the supplier and customer processes and resources whereby both parties engage in co-creation activities to create customer value in-use. Extant solutions marketing studies tend to focus on high customer readiness markets (HCRMs), assuming that customers are always able to effectively apply their resources and perform their roles in the co-creation process. However, while these studies suggest that achieving effective value co-creation processes and successful customer solutions depends largely on customer readiness, researchers have given little attention to understand the nature of the value co-creation process in low customer readiness markets (LCRMs). Also, there has been little investigation of how unique cultural contexts affect the customer solutions process. This research addresses these gaps in literature and aims at developing a better understanding of value cocreation trajectories within business to business (B2B) customer solutions in LCRMs and identifying the impact of Arabian business culture on the customer solutions process. This research adopts an interpretive perspective and conducts 44 in-depth interviews with customers and providers of technology-based solutions originated in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in Jordan. The study makes theoretical and practical contributions. It makes a theoretical contribution to solutions marketing literature by suggesting an extension to the known customer solutions process by proposing the market development phase to increase customer readiness to operate within solutions markets. In addition, the study shows that Arabian business practices including the use of personal connections, buyers’ treatment of time and the involvement of senior supplier firms influence solution co-creation initiation. Moreover, the study offers empirical evidence into how a solutions value proposition is communicated in the ICT solutions sector, suggesting that providers need to combine both strategic and transactional selling approaches when communicating the value of their solutions offerings. Finally, the study integrates the emerging concept of value diminution into the complex practice of customer solutions and identifies some customer and supplier practices that lead to experience negative value co-creation outcomes. From a practical perspective, the findings from a non-western solutions market provide important implications for international and local solutions providers operating within the ICT solutions sector in Arabian markets.