Customer knowledge transfer challenges in a co-creation value network: Toward a reference model

Samaneh Bagheri*, Rob J. Kusters, Jos J.M. Trienekens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Web of Science)
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In today’s interconnected global marketplace, where customers have become increasingly knowledgeable and empowered, a customer-centric view is becoming a prominent differentiating strategy for firms. Accordingly, firms with the aim of delivering a seamless customer experience strive to offer integrated solutions. This quite often relies on inter-organizational collaboration in the context of a value network In this context, customer-related knowledge is regarded as one of the primary sources in the provisioning process of integrated solutions. This, in turn, implies the importance of effective sharing of customer knowledge among actors of a value network. Customer knowledge transfer is difficult due to some recognizable challenges such as a lack of trust. Because of the added complexity of a value network, achieving a shared understanding among actors about customer knowledge transfer challenges in a value network setting (VN-CKTC) might be more difficult. A systematic and comprehensive overview of the VN-CKTC (in the form of a reference model) might support this by providing additional structure. Although scholars have long studied knowledge transfer challenges within business network settings, they are usually limited in scope and their resulting challenges differ widely. Therefore, they provide insufficient coverage of the possible challenges. A more comprehensive view is thus needed. Our research aims at designing and validating a reference model that provides a systematic and wider spectrum of possible VN-CKTC. To this end, a design science research approach is followed. In the design phase, by conducting a systematic literature review followed by a structured classification, a reference model of VN-CKTC is designed. In the evaluation phase, the validation of this designed artifact is evaluated in a value network setting by conducting multiple case studies. The results of this study give us both theoretically and context-specific descriptions of the significant relevant of these challenges. The proposed reference model provides a rich picture of VN-CKTC. Decision makers of value networks can use this reference model as a means to achieve a shared understanding about customer knowledge transfer challenges and to come to an agreement on these challenges. They can also apply it to be aware of which challenges to focus on, so they are provided with a much stronger basis to make better-informed decisions to address and mitigate these challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-214
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Information Management
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Co-creation value network
  • Customer knowledge transfer challenges
  • Integrated solutions
  • Reference model


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