Characterizing Value as an Experience – Implications for Researchers and Managers

Anu Helkkula, Carol Kelleher, Minna Hannele Pihlström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

437 Citations (Scopus)


Within contemporary discourse around Service Dominant (S-D) logic, phenomenologically (experientially) determined value has been placed at the center of value discussion. However, a systematic characterization of value in the experience has not been presented to date. In this paper, we outline four theoretical propositions that describe what value in the experience is, which we then illustrate using a narrative dataset. The propositions consider both lived and imaginary value experiences and posit that current service experiences are influenced by previous and anticipated service experiences.
The paper contributes to the service literature by characterizing value in the experience as an ongoing, iterative circular process of individual and collective customer sense-making, as opposed to a linear, cognitive process restricted to isolated service encounters. We recommend that service researchers should consider the use of interpretive methodologies based on the four theoretical propositions outlined in order to better understand the many ways that service customers experience value in their lifeworld contexts, which extend well beyond the service organization’s zone of influence. Service managers should also consider how a richer understanding of past, current and imaginary value in the context in service customers’ individual lifeworld contexts might generate novel insights for service innovations.

Key words: experience, phenomenology, value, service, narrative

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Service Research
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)59-75
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 02.2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • value
  • experience
  • service
  • customer value
  • value-in-context
  • narrative
  • KOTA2012


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