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Parkrun and Value Co-creation: An Application of Service Dominant Logic to the Study of Parkrun as a Value Co-creation Ecosystem

Hattersley, David, Beresford, Paul and Coombes, Philip ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1174-5652 (2023) Parkrun and Value Co-creation: An Application of Service Dominant Logic to the Study of Parkrun as a Value Co-creation Ecosystem. In: Academy of Marketing 2023 Annual Conference and Doctoral Colloquium: From Revolution to Revolutions, 3-6 July 2023, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

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In keeping with the conference theme of revolution this study focuses on what Hindley (2022) describes as a running revolution – parkrun. Since its foundation in 2004 parkrun has grown to become something of a global phenomenon. From its early days in Bushy Park, London, where a small group of friends met for an informal run, parkrun now has 1,788 parkrun and 381 Junior parkrun events taking place worldwide. parkrun is a free, weekly, timed, community event, supported by volunteers, in which everyone is welcome to walk, jog, or run a 5km course (parkrun, 2023). At the time of writing, the most recent parkrun activity involved 283,724 parkrunners and 36,312 volunteers (Line, 2023).

Another revolutionary concept that emerged in 2004 was that of Service Dominant Logic (SDL) (Vargo & Lusch, 2004) which offered a paradigmatic shift in the marketing discipline (Brodie, Löbler, & Fehrer, 2019), drawing together traditional transactional and relationship perspectives of marketing to provide a new way of looking at both the business world and our social environment and the ways in which they interact (Brodie, Saren, & Pels, 2011). Since its inception SDL has become one of the most widely cited marketing theories with approximately 30,000 views and downloads and over 6,500 citations (Marketing, 2023). The main premise of SDL is that service, rather than goods, is the main basis for exchange and in SDL this process is represented by a fairly simple narrative supported by a few key concepts and five axioms (Lusch & Vargo, 2019). Central to this narrative is the idea that all value is co-created between multiple actors and that such co-creation takes place within service ecosystems (Akaka & Chandler, 2019).

Improvements in health and wellbeing are a key benefit associated with parkrun and GPs are even encouraged to ‘socially prescribe’ parkrun as part of the ‘parkrun Practice’ initiative (Fleming, Bryce, Parsons, Wellington, & Dale, 2020). Recent studies have estimated that parkrun generates in the region of £150m in annual wellbeing impact within the UK (parkrun, 2021). Participation in parkrun provides people with a sense of achievement (Morris & Scott, 2019) and can play a significant role in identity construction (Warhurst & Black, 2022). There are a number of other studies highlighting the benefits of parkrun but none of these has considered parkrun through the lens of SDL or value co-creation.

This research will apply the narrative of SDL and examine parkrun as a service ecosystem to identify the different types of value that are co-created, not only for parkrunners but for all actors involved in the parkrun initiative, for example corporate sponsors and other institutions with links to parkrun such as the NHS. The foundation for this research is a case study currently provided to MBA students and findings from the research will aid the development of this case study to further improve the teaching of SDL and value co-creation.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Published
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5410 Marketing. Distribution of products
School/Department: York Business School
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/8516

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