Knowledge Co-Creation and Co-Created Value in the Service for the Elderly

Knowledge Co-Creation and Co-Created Value in the Service for the Elderly

Bach Ho Quang, Kunio Shirahada
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJKSS.2016040102
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The number of the elderly who face difficulties in their buying behavior of their daily life is increasing, in Japan. A service for the elderly such as services for supporting buying behavior of the elderly is needed. The purpose of this study is to identify knowledge co-creation in the service for the elderly and how co-created knowledge enables the elderly to enhance their quality of life as a well-being oriented value. The authors conducted qualitative research through a participant observation of support services regarding the buying behavior of the elderly and analyzed the data by a grounded theory approach. As a result, this study identified that there are three types of knowledge co-creation in support services: regional state, how a commodity is consumed, and consumer characteristics. This study also identified that there are three well-being oriented values co-created in support services: enhancement of the quality of life of the elderly, employee satisfaction, and accumulation of well-being provision skills.
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1. Introduction

Service carried out by service providers is more broadly affecting consumers’ daily life. Service providers have the opportunity to improve well-being of consumers. Since much of consumers’ daily lives are spent co-creating service interacting with service employees, service experiences significantly affect consumers’ well-being not only at the individual level but the collective level (Anderson et al., 2013). It is necessary to research about well-being enhancement as a service outcome. Over the past few years a number of studies have been made on this question as Transformative Service Research (TSR).

TSR is defined as “service research that centers on creating uplifting changes and improvements in the well-being of individuals (consumer and employees), families social networks, communities, cities, nations, collectives, and ecosystems” (Rosenbaum et al., 2011, p.3). Anderson et al. (2013) proposed a framework to conceptualize the relationship between service entities and consumer well-being. The framework shows the interactions between service provider entities and consumer entities and the macro environment in which they occur. The point is to include interactions with macro environment and consider human well-being as service outcomes by maintaining the sustainability lenses (Shirahada and Fisk, 2013).

In an aging society, the elderly are facing difficulties in their buying behavior in daily life due to decrease in the number of grocery stores (e.g. Choi and Suzuki, 2013). In the last few years, several articles have been devoted to the study of the issue about food deserts which means an area where food is difficult to obtain because of deterioration of living environment. Regarding economic activities aspects, there have been studies on the economic mechanism of generating food deserts (Besharov, Bitler and Haider, 2011), income effects of buying behaviors (Powell et al., 2007), and consumption characteristics by aging (Pearson et al., 2005). Regarding public policy and social perspectives, there have been studies on the policy maker’s role for avoiding the problems of food deserts (Cummins and Macintyre, 2002) and the effects of ethnic group for building purchasing communities (Morland et al., 2002). However, these previous studies have never tried to clarify how knowledge contributes to enhancing quality of life of the elderly.

In recent years, local groups providing support services of buying behavior are increasing. Although a large number of studies have been done on store inaccessibility for the elderly (e.g. Wilson, Alexander and Lumbers, 2004; Sharkey, Johnson and Dean, 2010; Nord and Kantor, 2006), little is known about analyzing this advanced activity of local groups. It is necessary to analyze how they integrate resources in community and encourage knowledge co-creation to promote support services.

Identifying how to encourage knowledge co-creation is, in fact, the key to explaining value co-creation through support services. From the perspective of service, there are three agents involved in service activities; demand, supply, and support. The demand agent is a consumer who needs support, which is the elderly for this study. The supply agent is a store providing commodities such as grocery stores. The support agent is a local group and a staff of the group providing support services. The purpose of this study is to identify what knowledge is co-created in such support services and how the knowledge affects each agent to improve their quality of life as a well-being oriented value.

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