Embracing uncertainty in value-based selling by means of design thinking

Hanna Elina Luotola, Magnus Hellström, Magnus Gustafsson, Olga Perminova-Harikoski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Service delivery and solution selling both strive to achieve increased value through co-creation. However, the concept of value co-creation is a macro concept that still lacks precise empirical grounding and accurate operationalisation. To uncover the microlevel processes of co-creation, we examined 15 sales cases via the lens of uncertainty management. We used design thinking and actor-network theory to explore how certainty evolves between a seller and the buyer. We argue that the common industrial logic for addressing and tackling customer problems in solution selling, hitherto portrayed as either deductive or inductive, is incomplete. Indeed, our research shows that solution selling and value co-creation both require a different, abductive epistemology to address the uncertainty. Our study also provides an empirical extension to the value co-creation literature.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)59–75
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Value co-creation
  • Action research

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