The Influence of Context on Value Proposition Co-creation of
Online Shopping Platform in China
Fan Yuan, Yufang Jin and Dahai Dong
School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China
Keywords: Service-Dominant Logic, Value Proposition, Context, Online Shopping Platform.
Abstract: Service-Dominant (S-D) logic emphasizes contextual conceptualization of value, while relatively little
attention has been paid on context within value proposition co-creation research. This paper contributes to
value proposition (VP) co-creation within S-D logic by providing the empirical evidence of how context,
defined as stakeholders with unique reciprocal links among them, influencing this process of the online
shopping platform. Synthesizing S-D logic and social network theory, the VP co-creation is conceptualized
as an operant resource integration process that is influenced by the tie strength among the consumer and
three core stakeholder groups, namely core service providers, supporting service providers and other
consumers, of the platform. Data collected from 380 consumers of major online shopping platforms in
China provide support for the study and demonstrate the influence on VP co-creation brought by
stakeholder context is mediated by quality of shared information and trust among stakeholders.
Vargo and Lusch (2004) highlighted the importance
of value proposition (VP) in the work on service-
dominant (S-D) logic. As mentioned in the ten
foundational premises (FPs) of this paper, firm and
customer should be considered in a relational context
(FP8), and the significant role of VPs should be
recognized (FP7). More recently, researchers extend
their focus on dyad interactions between customer
and supplier to consider value co-creation of
stakeholders' interacting and exchanging across
networks (Vargo and Lusch, 2008). VP within the
domain of S-D logic is, therefore, defined as a
process that enables the alignment of value within all
marketing stakeholder groups (Vargo and Lusch,
2017; Frow and Payne, 2011). Context as a set of
unique actors with unique reciprocal links among
them (Carrington, Scott and Wasserman, 2005;
Sheth and Uslay, 1997), affects stakeholders' ability
to directly access and leverage resources and thus
influence the whole process of value co-creation
(Chandler and Vargo, 2011). S-D logic emphasizes a
phenomenological and experiential conceptualization of
value (Vargo, Maglio and Akaka, 2008), and hence,
context acts as a critical variable both in the creation
and determination of value (Vargo, Lusch and
Akaka, 2010). For this reason, the concept of value
has been extended to value-in-context. According to
Chandler and Vargo (2011), value propositions are
created through practices among stakeholders that
integrate operand/operant resourceswhich cannot
be understood without considering context.
However, the context of multiple stakeholders has,
to date, received relatively little attention within VP
development research (Frow and Payne, 2011).
This study thus would like to address such an
issue and empirically illustrate the role context plays
in co-creating VP within S-D logic domains. By
considering this purpose at a network level, we call
for an extension of thinking beyond customer-
supplier relationships to a network of stakeholder
relationships (Frow and Payne, 2011; Lusch, Vargo
and O'Brien, 2007). The study is set in the online
shopping platform sector, the businesses of which
are dependent on stakeholder value network viewed
as pertinent for the study of VP co-creation (Quero
and Ventura, 2018; Ballantyne, Frow, Varey and
Payne, 2011).
The paper is organized as follows: First, the
author reviews the relevant concepts as the
theoretical background. Second, the mechanism on
how multiple stakeholder relationships of the online
shopping platform influence the co-creation of VP is
proposed and the hypotheses are thus raised. Third,
Yuan, F., Jin, Y. and Dong, D.
The Influence of Context on Value Proposition Co-creation of Online Shopping Platform in China.
DOI: 10.5220/0010417200150022
In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Finance, Economics, Management and IT Business (FEMIB 2021), pages 15-22
ISBN: 978-989-758-507-4
2021 by SCITEPRESS – Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
the research method is clarified and data statistics are
analyzed. A short discussion and implication on
managerial practices is given as the conclusion.
2.1 The Concept of VP
The original conceptualization placed VP as the first
step in value delivery. In contrast, S-D logic suggests
that value is not delivered by one party to another,
and that VP potentially plays a key coordination role
between stakeholders of marketing system (Frow
and Payne, 2011). Therefore, the concept moves its
focus from customer-supplier relationships to a
stakeholder-unifying process (Lusch and Webster,
2011), combining the willingness of stakeholders to
subordinate individual goals and associated actions
to collective ones.
Within S-D logic, the co-creation of VP could
be considered as an operant resource integration
process. The process is no longer the conventional
“producing” led by the firm, but the process of
“resourcing” focusing on resource creation,
resource integration and resistance removal among
stakeholders (Lusch, Vargo and Wessels, 2008).
Ballantyne and Varey (2006) made this idea more
specific and indicate that VPs in the S-D logic
perspective are formed through activities of
reciprocal exchange of knowledge among
stakeholders. Since value is described as being
“idiosyncratic, experiential and contextual” (Vargo
and Lusch, 2008), stakeholders may have different
views on value in accordance with the context they
are embedded (Frow and Payne, 2011). As a result,
context can play an important role in VP co-
2.2 The Concept of Context
S-D logic redirects the focal point of value creation
to the value uniquely derived and determined by an
individual service system that implies the context is
important to the creation of value (Vargo, Lusch and
Akaka, 2010). Context, as Chandler and Vargo
(2011) defined, is a set of unique actors with unique
reciprocal links among them. Existing researches
point out that the fundamental parts of value co-
creation, resource and service are critically
dependent on the contexts they are embedded in
(Chandler and Vargo, 2011; Uzzi, 1997; Vargo et
al., 2010). Especially when stakeholders' unique
positions in contexts affect their ability to access and
leverage resources both directly and indirectly (Uzzi,
1997), context could no longer be considered
exogenous to value creation. This has been
recognized in S-D logic as value-in-context
(Vargo Maglio and Akaka, 2008). Focusing on
value creation and drawing heavily from the social
networks analysis literature makes salient the
heterogeneous nature of context (Wasserman and
Faust, 1994).
2.3 Social Network Analysis
Social relationships are studied mainly from two
perspectives. One is ego network analysis, starting
with an individual and studying the relationships
he/she has with other people (Arnaboldi, Guazzini,
and Passarella, 2013). Since an open network
environment such as the online shopping platform
may find it hard to get a panoramic view of the
whole picture, ego network analysis could help
make salient the properties between the ego and
In the context of online shopping platform, we'd
like to partially accept the Christopher, Payne and
Ballantyne (1991) model, since it identifies a
manageable group of categories (Frow and Payne,
2011). In this model, the external core stakeholders
could be organized into groups of customer markets,
supplier/alliance markets, influence and referral
markets, each being sub-divided into more specific
entities. As proposed in this framework, the main
stakeholders of online shopping platform could be
divided into three groups as: 1) core service
providers of physical goods and knowledge-based
services on the platform; 2) supporting service
providers of a broader range providing assistant
services like payment, detection and logistics to
support transactions there; 3) other consumers with
similar shopping experiences there.
Of the key properties characterizing the social
relationships among stakeholders, tie strength - the
importance of the social relationship between two
individuals - is found to be one of the most
imperative features. The existing literature has
demonstrated the significant influence of tie strength
on social capital, which includes resources like
information (Chiu, Hsu and Wang, 2006;
Granovetter, 1973) and commitment to community
(Zhou, Zheng and Zhang, 2013), both theoretically
and empirically. Thus, there is reason to believe that
tie strength among stakeholders can possibly be a
decisive antecedent for VP development.
FEMIB 2021 - 3rd International Conference on Finance, Economics, Management and IT Business
3.1 Conceptual Model
As mentioned above, the set of stakeholders and the
tie strength among them will partly define the
consumer's access to information, which will
influence the potential of resources to be drawn upon
for integration and trust, which in turn will influence
the extent of resource integration resistance removal,
and a stakeholder perspective of VP development
accordingly. As such, the author would like to
propose a conceptual model for co-creating VP as
Figure 1: Conceptual model.
Note: CSPT= core service provider tie strength, OCT=
other consumer tie strength, SSP = supporting service
provider tie strength, IFQ= information quality, TRU=
trust, WIL= willingness, SV= shared vision
3.2 Hypotheses
3.2.1 Context and Resourcing Process
Considered as an important antecedent of intellectual
capital exchange ( Nahapiet and Ghoshal, 1998),
trust refers to an individual' s expectation that
members on the platform will follow a generally
accepted set of values, norms, and principles (Chiu
et al., 2006) and information quality mainly focuses
on the qualities of information content and
information interactivity (Wei and Tang, 2016). Tsai
and Ghoshal (1998) provide empirical support for
the influence of social interaction ties on
interknitting resource exchange and combination.
Although Grannovetter (1973) has theoretically
demonstrated that weak ties serve as information
bridges connecting individuals with different socio-
economic characteristics, which could effectively
transmit information absent in their strong-tie
relationships, the research by Kowalkowski, Ridell,
Röndell and Sörhammar (1992) suggests strong tie
advantages in forming more trust and reducing the
uncertainty faced by individuals. Empirical evidence
suggests that strong tie strength is indeed positively
associated with the amount of knowledge overlap
between the source and the recipient (Reagans,
2005). In addition, community members with strong
ties are prone to attachment and belonging to the
community which encourages them to trust each
other (Zhou et al., 2013).
Accordingly, hypotheses are set as follows:
H1a. The tie strength between the consumer and
the core service providers has positive effects on the
quality of information shared on the online shopping
H1b. The tie strength between the consumer and
the core service providers has positive effects on the
consumer’s trust to the online shopping platform.
H2a. The tie strength between the consumer and
other consumers has positive effects on the quality of
information shared on the online shopping platform.
H2b. The tie strength between the consumer and
other consumers has positive effects on the
consumer’s trust to the online shopping platform.
H3a. The tie strength between the consumer and
the supporting service providers has positive effects
on the quality of information shared on the online
shopping platform.
H3b. The tie strength between the consumer and
the supporting service providers has positive effects
on the consumer’s trust to the online shopping
3.2.2 Resourcing Process and VP
As defined above, the VP development emphasizes
on the willingness of stakeholders to subordinate
individual goals and associated actions to collective
goals and actions, as well as the shared vision which
binds stakeholders together. Yim and Leem (2013)
suggests that as the level of mutual trust
accumulates, there are more exchanges of business
values and goals. Buckley, Clegg and Wang's (2006)
multiple case studies point out the necessity of trust
to foster a shared mindset. In short, the process of
VP development is fostered as a result of enhanced
mutual trust. High-quality information exchanged
among stakeholders is an essential operant resource
helping them to seek their own and mutually shared
range of benefits which forms the basis of
knowledge identified in shared vision (Frow and
Payne, 2011). Information quality effects cognitive
The Influence of Context on Value Proposition Co-creation of Online Shopping Platform in China
heritage of the stakeholders (Gummesson and Mele,
2010), which could generate social capital and
ultimately form a sense of belonging (Zhou et al.,
2013), triggering off the community identification,
and in turn consumer’s willingness to co-create VP.
Thus more hypotheses are raised:
H4a. The quality of information shared on the
online shopping platform has positive effects on
consumer’s willingness to co-create VP.
H4b. The quality of information shared on the
online shopping platform has positive effects on
shared vision of the platform.
H5a. Consumer’s trust in the online shopping
platform has positive effects on consumer’s
willingness to co-create VP.
H5b. Consumer’s trust in the online shopping
platform has positive effects on shared vision of the
4.1 Measurement Development
This conceptual model contains seven constructs,
including core service provider tie strength (CSPT),
other consumer tie strength (OCT), supporting
service provider tie strength (SSPT), information
quality (IFQ), trust (TRU), willingness (WIL) and
shared vision (SV), all being adapted from existing
literature (see Appendix for specific questionnaire
items and references).Synthesizing researches of tie
strength prediction and network density, tie strength
of core stakeholders is measured with four items
based on the combination of the amount of time and
recency of contact (Arnaboldi et al., 2013;
Granovetter, 1973). Information quality is assessed
with six items considering the quality and
interactivity of information content (Chiu et al.,
2006; Wei and Tang, 2016). Trust is assessed with
four items adapted to reflect the consumers beliefs
in stakeholders' credibility, promise keeping,
behavior consistency, and truthfulness, following
prior studies (McKnight, Choudhury and Kacmar,
2002; Ridings, Gefen and Arinze, 2002; Tsai and
Ghoshal, 1998). Based on the definition developed
above, the dependent variables of the model are
willingness and shared vision generated for VP co-
creation. Willingness is assessed through two items
considering the consumer’s enthusiasm to co-create
value on the platform, and the shared vision is
assessed with two items measuring the consumer’s
perceptions on whether stakeholders share the same
vision and goal for the platform's further
development (Chiu et al., 2006; Tsai and Ghoshal,
1998). Regarding all the measures, a six-point Likert
scale is adopted with anchors ranging from strongly
disagree (1) to strongly agree (6).
4.2 Survey Administration
Consumers are selected with different characteristics
from major online shopping platforms in China (e.g., and as the
target group, and Questionnaire Star, a professional
online questionnaire platform, is used to collect
research data. The first page of the questionnaire
explain the purpose of this study and no breach of
confidentiality is ensured. 380 valid questionnaires
are collected through automatic deletion (setting a
threshold of a response time less than 1 second per
question) and manual exclusion (respondents with no
required shopping experience or those who clicked
through with the same option). Demographic
information of the respondents is shown in Appendix
4.3 Questionnaire Data Analysis
Data analysis utilizes a two-step approach as
recommended by Anderson and Gerbing (1988).
Firstly, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) is
applied to verify the relationships between observed
variables and latent variables in the hypotheses, and
then the structural relationships among latent
variables are tested. Both analyses are conducted
with AMOS 24.
4.4 Results
4.4.1 Reliability and Validity Tests
Reliability tests include internal consistency
reliability test and combination reliability test. The
result shows a high reliability of the model:
Cronbach's α for seven constructs all exceed 0.80
and composite reliabilities are all above 0.60.
Validity tests contain convergent validity test and
discriminant validity test. The CFA analysis for
convergent validity test shows that all variable
loadings are significant and exceed 0.60, and fitness
indexes meet the requirements. For detailed results
please see Appendix table: Reliability and Validity
Test Results.
FEMIB 2021 - 3rd International Conference on Finance, Economics, Management and IT Business
4.4.2 SEM Analysis of Conceptual Model
The model fit indices are within accepted thresholds,
and seven out of ten paths of it exhibit a p-value less
than 0.05 (see Table 1 and Figure 2), thus all
hypotheses are supported empirically, except
hypotheses 2a, 3a and 3b. As the model reflects, ties
among the consumer and core service providers
exhibit strong positive effect on resourcing process,
while effects of ties with other consumers and
supporting service providers are relatively weaker,
especially for the generation of the sense of trust.
Both information quality and the sense of trust have
a significant influence on the willingness and shared
vision to co-create an integrated VP, which proves
the importance of resourcing process for the
development of a stakeholder perspective of VP.
Table 1: SEM analysis of the conceptual model.
Estimate S.E. C.R. P
.269 .050 5.419 ***
.059 .039 1.501 .133
CSPTIFQ .456 .067 6.790 ***
SSPTIFQ .098 .053 1.848 .065
OCTTRU .073 .045 1.620 .105
.145 .061 2.376 .018
.117 .017 6.862 ***
TRUSV .113 .049 2.306 .021
IFQWIL .073 .012 6.222 ***
IFQSV .253 .036 7.025 ***
Fitness indices
χ2/df=1.413, GFI=0.998 ,
NNFI=0.994, CFI=0.999
Figure 2: SEM analysis of the conceptual model.
5.1 Summary of Results
This study provides empirical evidence to illustrate
the mechanism of how VP co-creation process is
affected by network context. Tie strengths of
different stakeholder groups exhibit different
influence extents. When it comes to the online
shopping platform, influence of direct contact (e.g.
consumer with core service provider) tie strength is
the most significant, both for information and trust
acquiring. Whereas the influence brought by indirect
contacts (e.g. consumer with other consumers and
supporting service provider) is relatively weak.
Though partially demonstrating the advantage of
weak tie on information exchange (Granovetter,
1973), the drawbacks of weak tie strength in trust
acquisition also emerge at the same time. Trust
among stakeholders tends to have significant
positive effect on removal of resistance, which
contributes to consumer’s willingness to co-create
VP shared vision development. Information
exchanged from core stakeholders facilitates the
resource creation process, which helps consumers
recognize the components of stakeholders' VPs
depending on the in-use situation and take the
available value co-creation opportunities
5.2 Implications for Managerial
The result indicates that the context of the platform
will significantly affect the development process of
VP co-creation. Therefore, managers should develop
strategies such as expanding communication
channels and designing communication
encouragement mechanism to enhance the strength
of the relationships among stakeholders.
Additionally, the quality of shared information on
the platform forms the basis of VP co-creation.
Managers could design an auto-filtering mechanism
to help consumers get valuable information more
easily. The online shopping platform like could add tags for comments from other
consumers, which helps facilitate information
collecting to meet their needs.
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Demographic Information of Survey Respondents.
Measure Items Percentage
Gender Male 38.2%
Female 61.8%
Usage History Less than 1 year 32.6%
1-3 years 17.9%
More than 3 years 49.5%
Age 19-25 48.2%
26-30 18.7%
31-40 24.5%
41 or above 8.7%
Job Title Student 36.6%
Manager 8.7%
Administration staff 10.3%
Engineer 6.6%
Sales 5%
Others 32.9%
Education High school or below 6.1%
University 60.9%
Graduate school or above 16.1%
(per month)
3000 RMB or below 38.7%
3001-5000 RMB 19.5%
5001-8000 RBM 24.7%
8001 RMB or above 17.1%
Location First-tier cities 24.5%
Second-tier cities 55.3%
Prefecture-level cities 14.5%
Counties 3.7%
Small towns or villages 2.1%
Reliability and Validity Tests Results.
Construct Loading
alpha value
Core Service Provider
Tie Strength
0.855 0.764 0.588
CSP1 0.632
CSP2 0.727
CSP3 0.891
CSP4 0.860
Other Consumer Tie
0.873 0.798 0.607
OC1 0.777
OC2 0.793
OC3 0.753
OC4 0.786
Supporting Service
Provider Tie Strength
0.88 0.874 0.635
SSP1 0.788
SSP2 0.764
SSP3 0.771
SSP4 0.725
Information Quality 0.897 0.790 0.601
IFQ1 0.777
IFQ2 0.834
IFQ3 0.779
IFQ4 0.828
IFQ5 0.771
IFQ6 0.647
Trust 0.865 0.792 0.602
TRU1 0.735
TRU2 0.767
TRU3 0.806
TRU4 0.794
Willingness 0.834 0.694 0.751
WIL1 0.764
WIL2 0.693
Shared vision 0.823 0.751 0.798
SV1 0.813
SV2 0.737
The Influence of Context on Value Proposition Co-creation of Online Shopping Platform in China
Questionnaire Items and References.
Construct Item Reference
Core service
provider (CSP) tie
For the services I am interested in, I will spend a great
deal of time interacting with CSP/OC/SSPs.
I have frequent communication with CSP/OC/SSPs
when I am shopping on the platform.
I often exchange views with CSP/OC/SSPs on brands
and services.
In the whole process of shopping (including pre-sale
consultation, shopping process and post-sale service),
I maintain a strong connection with CSP/OC/SSPs.
Arnaboldi et al.
(2013 );
Lin and Lu (2011);
Nahapiet and
Ghoshal (1998).
Other consumers
(OC) tie strength;
Supporting service
provider (SSP) tie
Information quality
The information shared by platform members is
relevant to my interests.
Chiu et al. (2006)
Wei and Tang
DeLone and
McLean (2003).
The information shared by platform members is
The information shared by platform members is
I have some control over the content of the platform
that I wanted to see.
I could communicate with the service provider directly
for further questions if I want to.
I could communicate in real time with other members
who share my interest in this platform.
I believe that members on the platform have more
knowledge on services than I do.
McKnight (2002)
Pavlou and Gefen
Ridings et al
Tsai and Ghoshal
Members on the platform will always keep promises
they make to one another.
I believe that the cooperation among platform
members will produce beneficial results for everyone.
Members on the platform are truthful in dealing with
one another.
I would like to commit myself more to the platform, so
it will provide better products/services for me in the
Anderson, Narus
and Van (2006)
Chiu et al (2006)
Nahapiet and
Ghoshal (1998).
I think the members, including myself, are enthusiastic
about this development.
Shared vision
The member of the platform shared the responsibility
for getting things done.
I agree with the platform' s positioning and value
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