Socializing to co-produce: Pathways to consumers' financial well-being

Lin Guo, Eric J. Arnould, Thomas W. Gruen, Chuanyi. Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Citations (SciVal)


Success rates of behavior change counseling programs (e.g., weight loss, smoking cessation, and debt management), where consumers seek to overcome their destructive habits and enhance well-being, are very low. Characterized by extended and complex service encounters, the providers of these programs face the challenge of gaining consumers' compliance to adhere to the programs' requirements and turning these consumers into effective co-producers of the service outcomes. This study investigates the process of customer organizational socialization in these programs, how it may promote co-production behaviors, and thus enhance consumers' well-being as well as satisfaction with the organization. The context of debt management programs is used to test the model. Data were obtained from 364 clients of a major credit counseling organization in the United States. The results reveal the differential effects of three aspects of socialization (role clarity, task mastery, and goal congruence) on three different types of consumer co-production behaviors (compliance, individual initiative, and civic virtue). Overall, compliance has the greatest contribution to well-being, while both compliance and individual initiative enhance satisfaction with the organization. Furthermore, consumers with a higher or lower ongoing dependence on the organization have different routes to well-being, with the high-dependence group relying on individual initiative, and the low-dependence group favoring compliance. This study contributes to the literature of co-production, organizational socialization, and consumers' well-being by showing how these three streams are connected. Managerial and policy implications focus on the need for these organizations to include efforts to ensure that consumers are effectively socialized into the program.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-563
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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