The context of experience

Melissa Archpru Akaka, Stephen L. Vargo, Hope Jensen Schau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the social and cultural aspects of the context that frames service exchange to better understand how value and experience are evaluated. Design/methodology/approach – The authors apply a conceptual approach to develop and propose a framework for deepening the understanding of the context of market-related experiences. The authors integrate two growing streams of research – consumer culture theory and service-dominant logic – that focus on phenomenological and experiential views on value and extend the context of experience with a culturally rich, service-ecosystems view of markets. Findings – The authors broaden the context of experience by applying a service-ecosystems perspective and identify four social and cultural factors that influence experience from this extended context – sign systems and service ecosystems; multiplicity of structure and institutions; value-in-cultural-context; and co-construction of context. Based on this, the authors point toward directions for future research. Research limitations/implications – The proposed framework points researchers and managers toward an extended context that is reproduced through the co-creation of value and influences evaluations of experience. Empirical research is needed to provide evidence of the proposed framework and further extend the understanding of dynamic social and cultural contexts. Practical implications – The findings of this study provide a broader scope of context and identify additional social and cultural factors for managers to consider in their efforts to enhance customer experiences. Originality/value – Traditional views of markets limit the context of experience to firm-customer encounters or consumer-centric practices and processes. This paper extends the context of experience to consider the practices and perspectives of multiple actors and various views on value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-223
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Service Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 20 2015


  • Consumer culture theory
  • Experience
  • Service-dominant logic
  • Value co-creation
  • Value-in-context

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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