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Working Consumers: The Next Step in Marketing Theory?

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  • Cova, Bernard
  • Dalli, Daniele

Abstract

In marketing and consumer research, consumers have been increasingly theorised as producers. However, these theorisations do not take all facets of consumers’ productive role into account. This paper mobilises both post-Marxist economics and post-Maussian socio-economics to develop the concept of working consumer. This concept depicts consumers who, through their immaterial labour, add cultural and affective value to market offerings. In so doing consumers increase the value of market offerings, although they usually work at the primary level of sociality (interpersonal relationships) and are therefore beyond producers’ control. However, given certain conditions, companies capture such a value when it enters the second level of sociality (the market). The concept of the working consumer summarises and enriches extant approaches to consumer (co)production, while challenging right-minded developments, such as the service-dominant (S-D) logic in marketing, which try to create/construct an ethereal marketscape in which consumers and producers live in harmony.

Suggested Citation

  • Cova, Bernard & Dalli, Daniele, 2009. "Working Consumers: The Next Step in Marketing Theory?," MPRA Paper 36717, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:36717
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/36717/1/MPRA_paper_36717.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eric von Hippel, 1986. "Lead Users: A Source of Novel Product Concepts," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(7), pages 791-805, July.
    2. Holt, Douglas B, 1995. " How Consumers Consume: A Typology of Consumption Practices," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-16, June.
    3. Fuller, Johann & Jawecki, Gregor & Muhlbacher, Hans, 2007. "Innovation creation by online basketball communities," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 60-71, January.
    4. Holt, Douglas B, 2002. " Why Do Brands Cause Trouble? A Dialectical Theory of Consumer Culture and Branding," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 70-90, June.
    5. Firat, A Fuat & Venkatesh, Alladi, 1995. " Liberatory Postmodernism and the Reenchantment of Consumption," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 239-267, December.
    6. Franke, Nikolaus & Shah, Sonali, 2003. "How communities support innovative activities: an exploration of assistance and sharing among end-users," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 157-178, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Double Exploitation; Gift giving; Immaterial Labour; Primary Sociality; Secondary Sociality; Co- production; Co-creation;

    JEL classification:

    • M3 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising

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