Co-creation is a form of business strategy that focuses on creating a valued outcome for both, the company and its customers. Authors of the article discussed here, “Relationship Glue: Customers and Marketers Co-Creating a Purchase Experience”, have tried to prove the concept that co-creation increases a customer’s trust and satisfaction towards a brand or an organisation, which strengthens their relationship, as well as, ultimately increases their loyalty towards the same entity (Rajah, Marshall, & Nam, 2008).
The authors have illustrated the concept of co-creation, and the relationship between all the aforementioned variables, by conducting a research experiment with 177 undergraduate students. The students were presented with three scenarios of different levels of co-creation, with the same eventual outcome, and their responses were utilised to derive a Structural Equation Model (SEM) as an empirical evidence to support the theory (Rajah, Marshall, & Nam, 2008).
Despite the supporting evidence, the analysis of the collected data and the derivation of the research model have not been explained adequately. It specifies the use of AMOS 6.0 for constructing and testing the research model, but it does not provide any insight into what it is or its mechanisms are (Rajah, Marshall, & Nam, 2008). To explain the derivation of the model, some technical abbreviations and numbers have also been presented in the article, but there is ambiguity around what the abbreviations stand for and how the numbers have been, or should be, interpreted. For example, Rajah, Marshall, & Nam quote that “The Model’s fit statistics, however, are very marginal (GFI=.829, AGFI=.762, CMIN/DF=2.99, RMSEA=1.07).” A reader with no knowledge of AMOS 6.0 is left with the only option, to take the authors’ word that the derived model does support the highlighted concept.
Furthermore, there are some apparent limitations in the research that has been conducted. The sample used for the research seems too small and restricted to derive a model that could be used by marketers in practice. A model derived from studying the responses of 177 undergraduate students, presumably studying the same course and mostly belonging to a certain age group of 18-25, would lack generalizability in real marketing situations. Consumers in the age group of 30-40 might show a different response pattern to the same three scenarios.
Another limitation is the age of the article. The article was written in 2008, which means it has been at least 7 years, or more, since this research had been conducted (AUT University, New Zealand, 2011). The rapid advancements in internet technology and social media have led to a better understanding and utilisation of co-creation in the last 7 years. It does not take the change in consumers’ purchasing trend post the global financial crisis into account, whereby 55% of consumers in even a developed economy say that they would go for the best price rather than the best brand (Kotler, Burton, Deans, Brown, & Armstrong, 2013). Also, the derived research model does not account for what type of product is being sold, or whether it is a business to business or business to customer environment, or whether it is