Co-creating values with customers: motives and responsibility.

Without a doubt, a new role distribution in manufacturing processes between the company and the consumer, and the experience of co-creation becomes the basis of values. New producer-consumer relations create a number of new challenges both for company management and for the consumer. This requires new forms of cooperation (bonds), motivation, involvement and responsibility of the parties to these relations. Involving the customer in the process of co-creating values is supposed to play the key role, since it is the customer who is to determine what values the producer will create for consumers, and how it will communicate and deliver them.

This leads to cooperative behaviour, due to which the relationship is supposed to become more efficient and to generate considerably better benefits for both parties. In order for the relationship to become more efficient for both parties, it has to be based on the involvement and trust of the partners, which will also lead to the strengthening and stability of their relations. Involvement as a component of relations is a multi-dimensional notion. In its social aspect it means an economic bond based on adapting resources and processes to the relationship with another entity, which should be accompanied by a reluctance to replace a partner in the relationship. Parties strongly involved in a relationship and satisfied with mutual benefits do not strive for a constant confrontation of competitive offers. Economic involvement is based mainly on the assessment of the relationship’s value and comparison of all the related costs and benefits it can bring as a result. The nature of the involvement can be also emotional (psychological), based on mutual sympathy, common values, trust, kindness and reciprocity. One can speak of emotional involvement when the parties identify with one another and have a bond with one another. Positive involvement leads to loyalty. Co-creating values has to be based on striving for positive involvement, which has to take into account the following dimensions: the volume of investments made by the partners and intention of the partners to build and develop long-term relations.

The volume of investments is connected with the principle of proportionality and credibility. Getting involved in the process of co-creating values the consumer engages his time, provides information on his expectations, is a source of innovarion (ideas for new values) and assumes the risk related to disclosing his personal data. The benefits he can draw from the relation and its co-creation are connected with the prospect of receiving a unique value tailored to each individual person.

In the co-creation relationship the producer involves resources in the form of persons employed, material infrastructure for the creation of values and networks established with business partners, as well as consumer communication infrastructure. In return the producer receives benefits in the form of customer knowledge, market, set of values expected by the customer and acceptable price levels, communication and ways of delivering values to customers. If the expectations of both parties are met, limitation of risk takes place both on the part of the producer and the buyer.

Futhermore, buyers having emotional involvement with the value supplier are to a greater extent willing to share positive recommendations about the company and its offer with prospective customers. This involvement can take such forms as for example leading to loyalty (positive) and connected with negative customer attitude, but not does not exclude further purchases (negative).

Building relations with the customer and achieving co-creation of values is based on striving for positive involvement. Bulding the involvement process reflects its various dimensions. The first of them is related to the volume of investments in the relationship made by the partners. The investment volume is related to credibility ad proportionality; credibility is defined by the sum of values provided by the partners; it is assumed that the higher the investment level, the higher the investment, which can lead to involvement asymmetry. The second dimension of involvement is connected with the intention of the partners to build and develop long-term relations. The third dimension indicated the dynamic nature of involvement, which develops with time.

The results of empirical research indicate that the increase of involvement in relationships contributes to the approval of mutual expectations and capabilities, and the parties adapt to them. The involvement influences the relationship stability in a positive manner and increases the willingness to cooperate.