New research from the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business

Melissa Akaka

It makes sense that businesses that are good at developing customer relationships and can adapt easily to change are more profitable. And now, there’s research from the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business that proves it.

Associate Professor Melissa Archpru Akaka’s article, “The role of cocreation and dynamic capabilities in service provision and performance: A configurational study,” was recently published in Industrial Marketing Management.

Using an online survey, the researchers collected data from 279 strategic business units of marketing advisory firms in Germany. The strategic business units of agencies varied in size, and no agency type dominated the sample to ensure sufficient variation in possible capability configurations.

The researchers studied how an agency’s cocreation capabilities and dynamic capabilities relate to service provision capabilities and influence a firm’s customer-based performance and financial performance. Cocreation capabilities are based on an organization’s ability to continuously interact and develop relationships with customers. Dynamic capabilities are based an organization’s ability adapt to changes in the environment, such as new technologies and laws, or changes in the competitive landscape. Service provision capabilities are based on an organization’s ability to provide quality service and create value with clients.

“As you might expect, if an agency is strong in both developing relationships and adapting to change, they perform well across the board,” Akaka says. In other words, both customer-based and financial performance are strongest when companies have high levels of cocreation and dynamic capabilities. She adds, “But, we also learned that different configurations of capabilities can lead to different outcomes. For example, firms that have a clear focus on clients and cocreation exhibit strong customer-based performance; however, their financial performance is average at best.”

Furthermore, Akaka says, “We find that companies with strong service provision capabilities are able to compensate for lower levels of co-creation capabilities and dynamic capabilities, at least in the short term. What is unknown, however, is how well these companies will thrive over the long term or in volatile situations with a lot of environmental change.”

Prior to running the survey, the instrument was pretested using 10 in-depth interviews with experienced agency managers and three experienced researchers to verify the content, clarity and wording of the statements. All respondents were provided a research report and invited to attend an industry workshop at the conclusion of the survey to gain knowledge based on the findings.

Akaka’s fellow authors include Ralf Wilden, Macquarie University, Australia; Siegfried Gudergan, University of Newcastle, Australia; Axel Averdung, SinnerSchrader, Germany; and Thorsten Teichert, University of Waikato, New Zealand.

For the full study, visit:

About the author:
Melissa Archpru Akaka is Associate Professor in the Marketing Department at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. She is the Elizabeth and Ali Machado Faculty Fellow and teaches topics such as marketing research, introduction to marketing, customer experience design and collaborative innovation. Read more.