"Running Is My Boyfriend": Consumers’ Relationships with Activities

Karl-Jacob Mickelsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The paper introduces the idea that consumers have relationships with their own recurring activities. Instead of the usual notion of investigating the relationships between actors, or between actors and their possessions, the paper focuses on the relationship between an actor and a particular activity that the actor regularly participates in.

Design – The paper is conceptual and exploratory in nature. It discusses different perspectives on consumer activity in marketing, and then introduces a relationship view on activity. The paper proceeds to outline the conceptual foundations of this view by applying relationship characteristics found in the literature. Quotes from runners’ blogs are used to illustrate the different identified relationship themes.

Findings – The paper argues that consumers can be seen as having long-term relationships with their activities, and introduces the concept of the “activity-relationship”. The paper proceeds to demonstrate how this concept differs from previous conceptualization of consumer activity and relationships.

Implications – The activity-relationship perspective on consumer behavior opens up new venues for marketing research. It also facilitates new types of marketing practice, whereby
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)24-33
Publication statusPublished - 04.01.2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Consumer activity
  • activity theory
  • practice theory
  • customer dominant logic
  • relationship marketing
  • consumer behavior
  • Customers and Relations


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