Three Decades of Customer Value Research: Paradigmatic Roots and Future Research Avenues

Valarie A. Zeithaml, Katrien Verleye, Isabella Hatak, Monika Koller, Alexander Zauner

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


The last three decades have witnessed a resurgence of research on the topic of customer value. In search of a comprehensive integration and analysis of this research—including conceptualization, operationalization, and measurement—we examined the myriad journal publications on the construct. We acknowledge that while some of the literature can be fully integrated, other parts are more difficult because they represent three different paradigms: positivist, interpretive, and social constructionist. We begin by briefly describing these three paradigms. Next, we detail the many studies representing the positivist paradigm, literature capturing customer value from just the customer’s perspective and using deductive logic. We designate the second paradigm as interpretive, in that researchers are interested in understanding the subjective nature of customer value along with its emergence through inductive logic. The third paradigm, the social constructionist, frames customer value as emerging from value co-creation practices in complex ecosystems. Building upon the commonalities and differences among research studies stemming from the positivist, interpretive, and social constructionist paradigms, we propose how researchers can complement one another to move the customer value field forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409 - 432
JournalJournal of Service Research - JSR
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502019 Marketing
  • 502052 Business administration
  • 502020 Market research

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