Client Co-Production in Knowledge-Intensive Business Services

by Lance Bettencourt, Amy Ostrom, Stephen Brown, Robert Roundtree



A common characteristic of knowledge-intensive business service (KIBS) firms is that clients routinely play a critical role in co-producing the service solution along with the service provider. This can have a profound effect on both the quality of the service delivered as well as the client’s ultimate satisfaction with the knowledge-based service solution. Based on research conducted with an IT consulting firm and work done with other knowledge-intensive business service providers, this article describes clients’ key role responsibilities that are essential for effective client co-production in KIBS partnerships. It then presents strategies that service providers can use to manage clients so they perform their roles effectively. By strategically managing client co-production, service providers can improve operational efficiency, develop more optimal solutions, and generate a sustainable competitive advantage.

California Management Review

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