On the Receiving End of Customer Creativity: Insights from Approach-Avoidance and Interpersonal Complementarity Perspectives

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


Over the past two decades, research on co-creation has flourished across multiple disciplines, largely highlighting its benefits for firms and customers. However, customer engagement in the creative process may not be experienced as universally positive by the service providers who must respond to it. To gain a more complete understanding of both the positive and negative sides of customer creativity, I take an approach-avoidance perspective to build a theoretical model explaining how and why customer creative behavior can lead to divergent responses by service providers. Specifically, customer creativity can inspire service providers, driving them to act more prosocially toward customers in return. Simultaneously, customer creativity can cause performance anxiety in service providers, leading them to withdraw from their work. Adding nuance to these predictions, I draw from interpersonal complementarity theory to explain why the approach-avoidance processes triggered by customer creativity should be contingent on service providers' creative role identity. Across an experience-sampling field study (Study 1), a critical-incident experiment (Study 2), and a scenario-based experiment (Study 3), the results largely aligned with my theoretical model (Overall N = 647). I discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the present research.
Period15 Nov 2022
Held atDepartment of Management