How does a Facebook flea market create value? Value co-creation and value outcomes in a digital platform
School of Business | Master's thesis
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AbstractThe aim of this thesis is to build more understanding on a recent phenomenon of Facebook flea markets. In a more extensive context, the topic is part of sharing economy, which covers peer-to-peer exchange more thoroughly. The chosen standpoint looks at the phenomenon through a value creation lens, more specifically how these flea markets create value for their users. The thesis builds on service-dominant logic (S-D logic) where value is a central underpinning. In order to bring practicality to S-D logic, platform structure is infused to it to better evaluate the complex value co-creation process. In the crossroads of the two literature streams, a framework for the thesis is developed. The research question was studied with a qualitative approach, where a Facebook flea market Kallio kierrättää acted as the target case. Selected users of this platform were interviewed with semi-structured interviews, and a qualitative content analysis was conducted on the transcribed records. The thesis follows a realism paradigm where the researcher is able to analyze the shared reality of individuals. Prior theory also plays a significant role in realist studies. The central findings illustrated that the value co-creation process is different from what was expected based on prior theory. In addition of merely interacting through ICT, Kallio kierrättää users connect in the flea market context outside the platform in physical surroundings, mainly in Kallio area in Helsinki. Furthermore, the sense of community is built both online and offline, leading to the conclusion that the digital and the physical complement one another. In addition, instead of users being only consumers of the platform they are in fact the main force behind the group. The traditional division between value proposition side and user side was changed as users were actively taking the admin role. Thus, users are creating value for each other more directly through having established and using Kallio kierrättää, where the interference of middlemen is not present the same way as in e.g. basic flea markets or online platforms. Moreover, the rules seem to act as a glue that keeps users connected and the group functioning. Regarding value outcomes, the main finding indicated that negative experiences play an important role in determining the final value outcome. The suggestion is that S-D logic inherited the net benefit view of value that has been first introduced more than 25 years ago. More generally, the thesis has demonstrated that platform structure can be successfully used in analyzing value co-creation. One suggestion for further research is to see if the same logic could be applied in other contexts where the platform exists on a more abstract level.
service-dominant logic, value, value co-creation, platforms, sharing economy, Facebook, flea market, arvo, arvon yhteisluonti, digitaalinen alusta, jakamistalous, kirpputori