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This study employs a social capital perspective and critical ethnographic methods to investigate the operation of co-production in a socially-rich marketplace. The phenomenon of interest is a form of co-production between and among marketers and consumers that is related to social capital (referred to herein as social capital-related coproduction or SCRC). By examining a more complex form of co-production than typically depicted in the marketing literature, this research extends knowledge about the nature, boundaries, and effects of co-production.
Moreover, the concept of SCRC is useful to gain insights about how social and commercial elements may interact in marketplaces. It contributes to our understanding of marketplace processes and relationships by enhancing our grasp of how marketplace activities and meanings are embedded in larger social entities and co-produced by marketers and consumers, offering insights on tensions and conflicts between individual agency and collectivity in the marketplace, highlighting the convergence and divergence of marketplace and community interests, and shedding light on how the market both undermines and enhances SC.
Findings suggest that SCRC has protean qualities, which are reflected by the varied motives, actors, ties among actors, intended beneficiaries, forms of co-production, benefits, consequences; interpretations of the DRA, and marketplace levels that are associated with SCRC. An understanding of these protean qualities can aid marketing scholars in at least two ways. First, it can help them to differentiate SCRC from coproduction that results from primarily psychological motives (e.g., an interest in the intrinsic value of what is created) and co-production that is dyadically-oriented to another individual rather than a larger social entity. Second, it also can help scholars to explain many marketplace relationships and actions that may conflict with conventional notions of individual self-interest and relationships between retailers and consumers.
Adviser: Sanford Grossbart