Customer value and product development courses - multiple case study in university-industry collaboration context

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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The aim of this study is to build an understanding of customer value from the viewpoint of companies, which participate in product development project courses in university-industry collaboration. Previous customer value research has not focused on university-industry context. The research approach of this thesis is action-oriented, as it aims to provide findings and provide both theoretical and practical implications. The empirical research was conducted as a multiple case study, and the data was gathered by conducting semi-structured interviews with companies' representatives, who participated in the course during the academic year 2015-2016. The studied course is Aalto University's Product development Project –course. In this course, multidisciplinary student teams develop a physical prototype based on the sponsoring company's brief. The thesis first introduces the relevant customer value literature and the university-industry context. Then an existing framework for customer value dimensions is introduced, which is then utilized in the analysis of the data. The findings suggest that companies expected and perceived value from the promised end results, the final prototype and the final report, and additional value from the course concept. The course concept includes the events, activities, and interactions between students and companies. The identified customer value attributes and outcomes provide specific, context related knowledge for the studied topic and context. Additionally, the findings suggest that the companies with more experience with the course had more realistic expected values, compared to companies with less experience. The findings provide both theoretical and practical implications. The findings suggest that the chosen framework provides a fruitful basis for analyzing customer value dimensions in new contexts, including university-industry collaboration. Both universities and companies can benefit from the findings.
Thesis advisor
Lindblom, Arto
Mitronen, Lasse
customer value, expected value, perceived value, value dimensions, product development courses, product development project, pdp
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