How Customers’ Attributions of Coproduction Motives Shape Marketing Outcomes Over Time
Marketing scholars and practitioners emphasize the importance of two benefits associated with the engagement of customers in coproduction processes: (1) realization of higher profits and (2) better satisfaction of customer needs. Despite the relevance of these two central coproduction motives, previous research has neglected to investigate how customers’ attributions of these motives shape their attitudes and behavior towards the firm. In light of this research void, the authors build on attribution theory and develop and test a conceptual framework to investigate how customers’ attributions of profit- and customer need-driven firm coproduction motives affect important marketing outcomes, i.e., customer satisfaction and willingness to pay more, over time. Results from latent growth analyses of a six-wave longitudinal data set comprising information from more than 12,000 customers show divergent effects of both motive attributions that follow different temporal patterns: Whereas the favorable effects of customer need-driven motive attributions decrease over time, the detrimental effects of profit-driven motive attributions remain highly persistent. Validation analysis with data on objective customer spending additionally underlines the relevance of both motive attributions. The study further reveals how companies can shape customers’ attribution of firm’s coproduction motives by managing the degree of intensity and freedom of design of their coproduction offerings.