Affordances Advancing User-Created Communication (UCC) in Service: Interactivity, Visibility, and Anonymity

Robert Ciuchita*, Gustav Medberg, Valeria Penttinen, Christoph Lutz, Kristina Heinonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Digital platform users not only consume but also produce communication related to their experiences. Although service research has explored users' motivations to communicate and focused on outcomes such as electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), it remains largely unexplored how users iteratively interact with communication artifacts and potentially create value for themselves, other users and service providers. The purpose of this paper is, thus, to introduce communicative affordances as a framework to advance user-created communication (UCC) in service.
Design/methodology/approach: Drawing from the literature in communication, service research and interactive marketing, an affordance perspective on UCC in service is introduced.
Findings: Three UCC affordances for the service context are presented – interactivity, visibility and anonymity – opportunities and challenges for service providers associated with these affordances are discussed and, finally, affordance-specific research questions and general recommendations for future research are offered.
Research limitations/implications: By conceptualizing UCC in service from an affordances perspective, this paper moves beyond the traditional sender–receiver communication framework and emphasizes opportunities and challenges for service research and practice.
Practical implications: Instead of focusing separately on specific technologies or user behaviors, it is recommended that service managers adopt a holistic perspective of user goals and motivations, use experiences and platform design. Originality/value: By conceptualizing UCC as an augmenting, dialogical process concerning users’ experiences, and by introducing communicative affordances as a framework to advance UCC in service, an in-depth understanding of the diverse and ever-evolving landscape of communication in service is offered.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Service Management
Issue number4-5
Pages (from-to)688-704
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 20.04.2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • user-created communication (UCC)
  • digital platforms
  • affordances
  • interactivity
  • visibility
  • anonymity
  • Customers and Relations
  • Services Marketing and Philosophy

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Competition economics and service strategy - Service and customer-oriented management


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