Tallinn University of Technology

At the end of last year, Jana Kukk, a PhD student of the Department of Business Administration of Tallinn University of Technology, defended her doctoral thesis "Value Creation in Knowledge-intensive Business Services".

The doctoral thesis focused on the process of value creation in knowledge-intensive business services (training and consultancy services, etc.) and investigated the factors that influence value perception by customers. The aim of the thesis was to determine the process of value creation in knowledge-intensive business from the customers’ perspective.

The supervisor of the doctoral thesis, Associate Professor of the TTÜ Department of Business Administration Anu Leppiman said, "Service value creation is continuously one of the central issues in marketing and management literature. Regardless of the fact that the topic of value creation has been researched by scholars of various fields (including management, marketing and experience economy researchers), contemporary academic literature fails to provide a clear analysis of the process of service value creation.”

The doctoral thesis sought answers to four questions:

  1. How is the process of value creation in knowledge-intensive business service structured from the customers’ perspective?
  2. In which way does co-creation (with the customer) influence service value perception?
  3. Based on which constituents of value does the customer evaluate knowledge-intensive business service?
  4. How does experience influence the value-shaping process of knowledge-intensive business service?

According to customer’s perception, the business service consists of four service stages: identification of the need, optimal service selection, service delivery, and implementation or exploitation of the result.
The research shows that customers have a positive attitude towards contributing to the value creation process themselves, in particular during the first and the last stages of the service. "When a customer is more involved in the service process, he or she feels also so-called shared responsibility for the result," Associate Professor Leppiman explains.

The thesis contributes mainly to the development of three domains of academic literature:

  • firstly, to the field of service design by providing insights on when the value creation process starts, when it ends, and what is the process in between, from the customers’ perspective;
  • secondly, to the domains of experience economy and value theory by suggesting a new theoretical concept of value;
  • thirdly, the thesis contributes to the body of knowledge on value creation in knowledge-intensive business services by delivering a model of the value co-creation process from customers’ perspective and describing the constituents of value and explaining their influence on value formation.

There are six key components that were pointed out: performance improvement, interaction with other professionals, motivation, experience, content relevance, and a facilitator.
Associate Professor Anu Leppiman said, "Further research of value creation in knowledge-intensive business services should test the six-element model of value creation suggested in the thesis with the tools of quantitative research."

The supervisor of the doctoral thesis was Associate Professor Anu Leppiman (TTÜ).
The opponents were Professor Satu Miettinen (University of Lapland) and Associate Professor Mari Kooskora (Estonian Business School).

The doctoral thesis has been published in the digital collection of TTÜ library: https://digi.lib.ttu.ee/i/?7010

Kersti Vähi, Research Administration Office