Connecting cross-cultural studies with service design to adapt services to new markets. A case study at IKEA Alam Sutera, Jakarta.

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
The purpose of this thesis is derived from problems present in the growing global service economy. In this economy globalisation and localisation coincide. People in different places possess different needs and values. These significant cultural differences across markets in global services lead this thesis to investigate cultural influence in value co-creation processes. This thesis connects evidence from cultural studies with service design to explore the relation of the orientation of values with value creation processes. Here values and value have different meanings. In cultural studies values determine a choice from existing alternatives (Parsons and Shills, 1951). Where in Service Dominant Logic value is created in the co-creation process between service provider and users (Vargo and Lusch, 2004). Despite these differences this thesis finds that there is a connection between them. The thesis also investigates transformation design to understand the nature of transformative services and transformation design strategies. A case study has been undertaken in Jakarta within a global home furnishing retailer from Sweden. This company opened its first store in Indonesia four months prior to the research. The case study utilized methods from user-centred design and service design to reveal the current value co-creation processes. Cross-cultural studies informed the differences and similarities of the values of the stakeholder’s original countries. It was found there were connections between the findings of the case study and the cultural dimensions of Trompernaars’s and Hampden-Turner. Most of the identified problems in the value co-creation processes were found in the cultural dimensions where the distance between Sweden and Indonesia were the largest. Additionally it seems that the stakeholder with the more extreme cultural orientation identifies problems within the cultural dimension more often. Evidence from cross-cultural studies provides understanding on what people value in different countries. This research attempts to include this understanding in the process of defining strategic directions for adapting services to new markets. To support service designers in this process a guide was created containing a framework and a toolkit. The framework describes several steps and the toolkit contains tools for mapping cultural differences and identifying design directions. This guide can be seen as my contribution to the field of cross-cultural service design. It is instrumental for expanding and continuing further studies, because having only one case study cannot be considered as a strong base for any conclusions. By applying and improving the described methods the cross-cultural service design field can gain understanding and expertise needed to deal with these global challenges.
Whalen, Jack
Thesis advisor
Soini, Katja
service design, cross-cultural studies, cultural dimension, transformation design, value co-creation