Customers and Relations

This theme includes research on all kinds of customers' experiences of and responses to brands, product and service offerings, marketing communication, marketing activities as well as other conditions in the markets.



Responsible faculty member:

Prof. Kristina Heinonen



Researchers focusing on the area:

Prof. Peter Björk
Prof. Emeritus Christian Grönroos
Prof. Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen
Prof. Veronica Liljander
Prof. Bård Tronvoll
Prof. Magnus Söderlund

Prof. Tore Strandvik
Assoc. Prof. Pia Polsa
Assoc. Prof. Annika Ravald
Asst. Prof. Johanna Gummerus
Asst. Prof. Christian Kowalkowski
Post-doc. Karl-Jacob Mickelsson


Specific topics

  • Customer experiences in B2C and B2B
  • Customer value formation
  • Service/product quality, customer satisfaction
  • Customer involvement and engagement
  • Customer activities and practices
  • Customer network relationships
  • Relationship marketing, customer
  • Value selling, solutions selling
  • Service interface, service encounters, servicescapes
  • Customers' social media use
  • Brand relationships and image

Focus industries studied in the area

  • Financial services and banking industry
  • Tourism and hospitality industry
Sebastian Schauman, Kristina Heinonen, Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen 2020, 'Crafting Customer Insight: What We Can Learn from the Revival of the Vinyl Record', Business Horizons,
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Robert Ciuchita, Annika Ravald, Yves Van Vaerenbergh, Panagiotis Sarantopoulos, Francisco Villarroel-Ordenes, Mohamed Zaki 2020, 'Customer experience management in the age of big data analytics', Journal of Business Research, vol. 116, pp. 356-365.
Jaakko Aspara, Jan Klein, Yuchi Zhang, Tomas Falk, Xueming Luo 2020, 'Customer journey analyses in digital media: Exploring the impact of cross-media exposure on customers’ purchase decisions', Journal of Service Management,
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Lars Witell, Anders Gustafsson 2020, 'Viewpoint: Getting Your Qualitative Service Research Published', Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 111-116.
Johanna Gummerus, Michaela Lipkin, Apramey Dube, Kristina Heinonen 2019, 'Technology in use - characterizing customer self-service devices (SSDS)', Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 44-56.
Peter Björk, Hannele Kauppinen-Räisänen, Alexandra Lönnström, Marie-Nathalie Jauffret 2018, 'How consumers' need for uniqueness, self-monitoring, and social identity affect their choices when luxury brands visually shout versus whisper', Journal of Business Research, vol. 84, no. March , pp. 72-81.
Jaakko Aspara, Kristina Wittkowski 2018, 'Sharing-Dominant Logic? Quantifying the Association between Consumer Intelligence and Choice of Social Access Modes', Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 201-222.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Kwesi Sakyi-Gyinae 2018, 'What Do Business Customers Value? An Empirical Study of Value Propositions in a Servitization Context', Technology Innovation Management Review, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 36-43.
Bård Tronvoll, F. Polese, J. Pels, R. Bruni, L. Carrubbo 2017, 'A4A relationships', Journal of Service Theory and Practice2015, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 1040-1056.
Kristina Heinonen, Werner Kunz, Lerzan Aksoy, Yakov Bart, Sertan Kabadayi, Francisco Villaroel Ordenes, Marianna Sigala, David Diaz, Babis Theodoulidis 2017, 'Customer engagement in a Big Data world', Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 161-171.
Bård Tronvoll, Tore Mysen 2017, 'Emosjoner i kundedrevet samskaping av tjenester', Magma: Econas tidsskrift for økonomi og ledelse, vol. 4, pp. 50-58.
Peter Björk, Erose Sthapit, Dafnis Coudounaris 2017, 'Emotions elicited by local food consumption, memories, place attachment and behavioural intentions', Anatolia : An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 363-380.
Christian Kowalkowski, Helen Perks, Lars Witell, Anders Gustafsson 2017, 'Network orchestration for value platform development', Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 67, no. November, pp. 106-121.
Christian Kowalkowski, Federico Androdegari, Nicola Saccani, Jyrki Vilo 2017, 'PSS business model conceptualization and application', Production Planning & Control, vol. 28, no. 15, pp. 1251-1263.
Jaakko Aspara, Maria Jose del Rio Olivares, Kristina Wittkowski, Tomas Falk, Pekka Mattila 2017, 'Relational price discounts: Consumers' metacognitions and nonlinear effects of initial discounts on customer retention', Journal of Marketing, vol. 82, no. 1, pp. 115-131.
Christian Grönroos 2017, 'Relationship marketing and service: an update', Journal of Global Scholars of Marketing Science : Bridging Asia and the World, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 201-208 .
Christian Grönroos 2017, 'Relationship marketing readiness: theoretical background and measurement directions', Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 218-225.
Christian Kowalkowski, Heiko Gebauer, Bart Kamp, Glenn Parry 2017, 'Servitization and deservitization', Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 60, no. January, pp. 4-10. ,
Karl-Jacob Mickelsson 2016, '"Running Is My Boyfriend": Consumers’ Relationships with Activities', Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 24-33.
Magnus Söderlund 2016, 'Mere employee presence and its impact on customer satisfaction', Psychology and Marketing, vol. 33, no. 6, pp. 449-464.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Christian Kowalkowski, Sergio Biggemann 2016, 'Organizational Behavior in Innovation, Marketing, and Purchasing in Business Service Contexts', Journal of Business Research, vol. 69, no. 7, pp. 2457-2462.
Christian Kowalkowski, Heiko Gebauer, Rogelio Oliva 2016, 'Service growth in product firms', Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 60, no. January, pp. 82-88.
Kristina Heinonen, Tore Strandvik 2015, 'Customer-dominant logic: foundations and implications', Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 29, no. 6/7, pp. 472-484.
Annika Ravald, Fredrik Nordin 2015, 'Managing relationship gaps: A practitioner perspective', Journal of Business Research, vol. 69, no. 7, pp. 2490-2497.
Christian Grönroos, Katri Ojasalo 2015, 'Service productivity as mutual learning', International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. 7, no. 2-3, pp. 296-311.
Anne Rindell, Fernando Pinto Santos, Ana Pinto de Lima 2015, 'Two sides of a coin: Connecting corporate brand heritage to consumers’ corporate image heritage', Journal of Brand Management, vol. 22, no. June/July, pp. 467-484.
Veronica Liljander, Johanna Gummerus, Magnus Söderlund 2015, 'Young consumers’ responses to suspected covert and overt blog marketing', Internet Research, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 610-632.
Hannele Kauppinen-Räisänen, Johanna Gummerus, Catharina Koskull von, Åke Finne, Anu Helkkula, Christian Kowalkowski, Anne Rindell 2014, 'Am I worth it? Gifting myself with luxury', Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 112-132.
Peter Björk, Hannele Kauppinen-Räisänen 2014, 'Contemporary insights to the dynamic pre-trip information sourcing behaviour', Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 39-53.
Hannele Kauppinen-Räisänen, Anne Rindell, Charlotta Åberg 2014, 'Conveying conscientiousness: Exploring environmental images across servicescapes', Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 520-528.
Bård Tronvoll, Maria Åkesson, Bo Edvardsson 2014, 'Customer experience from a self-service system perspective', Journal of Service Management, vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 677-698.
Gustav Medberg, Kristina Heinonen 2014, 'Invisible value formation: a netnography in retail banking', International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 590-607.
Christian Kowalkowski, Tore Strandvik, Päivi Voima, Bo Edvardsson 2014, 'Negative critical waves in business relationships', Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 284-294.
Magnus Söderlund, Veronica Liljander, Johanna Gummerus, Pia Maria Hellman, Michaela Lipkin, Marianne Dube, Eeva-Liisa Oikarinen, Karina Töndevold 2014, 'Preferential treatment in the service encounter', Journal of Service Management, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 512-530.
Christian Grönroos, Päivi Voima 2013, 'Critical service logic: making sense of value creation and co-creation', Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 133-150.
Pia Polsa 2013, 'Crystallization and research in Asia', Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 76-93.
Pia Polsa, Wei Fuxiang, Maria Caroliina Sääksjärvi, Pei Shuyuan 2013, 'Cultural values and health care service quality in China', International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 55-73.
Karl-Jacob Mickelsson 2013, 'Customer Activity in Service', Journal of Service Management, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 534-552.
Christian Kowalkowski, Sergio Biggemann, Jane Maley, Staffan Brege 2013, 'Development and implementation of customer solutions', Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 42, no. 7, pp. 1083-1092.
Tore Strandvik, Kristina Heinonen 2013, 'Diagnosing Service Brand Strength: Customer-Dominant Brand Relationship Mapping', Journal of Service Management, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 502-519.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Fredrik Nordin, Danilo Brozovic 2013, 'Disintermediation in Business-to-Business Service Channels: Mechanisms and Challenges', Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 179-192.
Jaakko Aspara, Joel Hietanen, Pekka Mattila, Antti Sihvonen, Henrikki Tikkanen 2013, 'Generative mechanisms in project marketing – an agenda for inquiry', Journal of Global Scholars of Marketing Science : Bridging Asia and the World, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 196-212.
Jaakko Aspara, Petri Parvinen, Joel Hietanen, Sami Kajalo 2013, 'Sales activity systematization and performance', Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 494-505.
Pia Polsa 2013, 'The Crossover-Dialogue Approach :', Journal of Business Research, vol. 66, no. 3, pp. 288-297.
Veronica Liljander, Johanna Gummerus, Anna Lundqvist, Allard van Riel 2013, 'The impact of storytelling on the consumer brand experience: the case of a firm-originated story', Journal of Brand Management, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 283-297.
Christian Grönroos 2012, 'Conceptualising value co-creation: A journey to the 1970s and back to the future', Journal of Marketing Management, vol. 28, no. 13-14, pp. 1520-1534.
Johanna Gummerus, Veronica Liljander, Minna Hannele Pura, Emil Weman 2012, 'Customer Engagement in a Facebook Brand Community', Management Research Review2010, vol. 35, no. 9, pp. 857 - 877.
Tore Strandvik, Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Bo Edvardsson 2012, 'Customer Needing: A Challenge for the Seller Offering', Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 132-141.
Karolina Wägar, Annika Ravald, Inger Roos, Bo Edvardsson 2012, 'My Customers Are in My Blind Spot', Journal of Service Research, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 150-165.
Christian Grönroos, Pekka Päiviö Helle 2012, 'Return on relationships:', Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 344-359.
Pia Polsa, Karen Spens, Imoh Antai, Alabi Soneye 2011, 'Comparing the perceived quality of private and public health services in Nigeria', Journal of Management Policy and Practice, vol. 12, no. 7, pp. 18-26.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Sören Kock, Vladimir Vanyushyn 2009, 'Cooperation with Competitors and Internationalization', Journal of Euromarketing, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 89-100.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Päivi Hobbs 2009, 'Seller-initiated relationship ending An empirical study of professional business-to-business services', Managing Service Quality, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 266-285.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen 2008, 'A definition, model, and empirical analysis of business-to-business relationship quality', Journal of Service Management, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 32-62.
Tore Strandvik, Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen 2008, 'How to Diagnose Business-to-Business Relationships by Mapping Negative Incidents', Journal of Marketing Management, vol. 24, no. 3-4, pp. 361-381.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Tore Strandvik, Bo Edvardsson 2008, 'Initiation of business relationships in service-dominant settings', Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 339-350.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Tore Strandvik 2005, 'Exploring and Managing Negative Incidents in Business Relationships', Journal of Customer Behavior, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 227-250.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Tore Strandvik 2005, 'Stress in Business Relationships', Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 12-22.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen 2004, 'Analyzing Business Relationships and Distinguishing Different Interaction Levels', Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 279-287.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen 2001, 'The D&D Model', The Service Industries Journal, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 13-36.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Tore Strandvik 1999, 'Perception Configurations in Business Relationships', Management Decision, vol. 37, no. 9, pp. 686-696.
Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Jan-Åke Törnroos 1997, 'What are Relationships in Business Networks?', Management Decision, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 304-309.