The co-creation of new value requires entrepreneurs to have insight into a new direction that might turn out to meet desires or needs that could not have been known before. Yet, entrepreneurs are just the beginning, because the co-creation of new value depends on the consumer environment. For entrepreneurs this means a request to interact with contemporary consumers who pursue new consumption experiences. Accordingly, it is evident that entrepreneurs should have a clear understanding of consumers and their social contexts, because collaboration between entrepreneurs and consumers has become the core of business. However, entrepreneurship scholarship has thus far paid only cursory attention to consumers, and scholarly interest has largely neglected the interactions between entrepreneurs and consumers. Unfortunately, this has led to a limited understanding of the essence of entrepreneurship, and, thus, to a limited understanding of where the new value truly emerges from.
Therefore, the main aim of this dissertation is to suggest an interaction-based approach to entrepreneurship research. While conducting this research, I focus on the complex phenomenon of the co-creation of new value. I elaborate a theoretical framework of the co-creation of new value by synthesizing different theoretical debates. Using this theoretical framework, I provide novel insights into decision making, action and context, the key elements that must be taken into account to comprehensively understand the complex and dynamic co-creation of new value. Furthermore, this dissertation empirically provides some abstractions of reality to illuminate some new insights on whence new value truly emerges and how it is co-created.
Based on the acquired theoretical knowledge and empirical studies, I have summarized my key findings into three subpropositions. First, I argue that when aiming to co-create new value, entrepreneurs capture relevant knowledge about their consumers by making sense of the multilayered consumer environment. Second, I claim that interaction practices, which involve multiple actors, construct legitimacy that at times enables and at others constrains entrepreneurial efforts and the co-creation of new value. Third, I state that consumers constitute the multilayered consumer environment that works as a context for the co-creation of new value by situating themselves in relation to the social environment and their situational self. These three subpropositions collectively illustrate that the co-creation of new value is a highly interactive event. Therefore, my main proposition, which answers the main research question and fulfills the main aim of this dissertation, is that, when co-creating new value, entrepreneurs can tap into the consumer environment by adjusting their sensemaking, judgment, and practices for the socially situated interplay of decision making, action, and context.
Overall, I believe that, with this dissertation, I have been able to gain new insights on whence new value truly emerges and how it is co-created. Furthermore, with this dissertation I also foster some novel ways to break away from the process perspective and to capture time-sensitive descriptors of ongoing actions and the new value that is pursued. Thus, I consider that my propositions bend some boundaries of the existing entrepreneurship research and make some important contributions to the field of entrepreneurship. Moreover, I am certain that my findings provide some topical and practical knowledge for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurially minded managers, the advisers within the institutions who support entrepreneurs, and also for entrepreneurial education.