Value and Time: Exploring Individual Processes of Value Creation in Two Cycling Groups
Smith, David Anthony
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Contains material for future publication
This study explores processes people use in creating value for themselves, using time and over time. It draws on an empirical study of cycling to identify the detailed and often paradoxical ways in which value-in-use is experienced and constructed. The outcomes contribute to our understanding of how perspectives of time and value interrelate, with implications for time-based theories of value; for positioning of commercial goods and services; and policies and practices affecting leisure activities. Value has enjoyed a long and complex intellectual history across many fields. Within marketing there has been some concentration on ‘exchange value’ and this has influenced a range of views on Consumer Behaviour. More complex constructions of value have emerged, such as Holbrook’s (1999) consumer value and Vargo and Lusch’s (2004; 2008) value-in-use. There have been calls for more research into the processes of creating value and this thesis responds to those calls, exploring those processes through participation and interview. Value is entwined with time. Experienced, it requires time, and the duration of the experience can increase or intensify value or change its nature. Experiences are anticipated and remembered, ‘distorting’ or developing the value of an event. The aim of this work is to explore processes people use in creating value for themselves using time and over time, addressing the broad question of how a return to a perspective of value-in-use can help inform understanding of the relationship between value and time for individuals. In line with this exploratory and theory-building aim, an interpretive approach informed by Grounded Theory was adopted. This involved fieldwork over two years, developing from a range of initial data collection through observations to formal and detailed analysis of 15 interviews with two groups of cyclists. One group centred on old bicycles, one on cycling advocacy. The contribution from this study is in two parts. First, it describes how alignment of value and time perspectives can usefully shed light onto the relationship between time and value for individuals. Examples include episodic valuation and non-linear chronologies. These offer alternatives to established forms of clock time exchange, value through ownership, Discounted Utility, and ex-ante, ex-post valuations. Second, it offers detailed operationalisation of these alternatives through three emergent themes: disposition, moments and remembering with objects. These examples include the roles of objects in projecting into the past and future, and constructs such as Reference Moments set as an alternative to Moments of Truth. This exploratory study leads towards future work testing and evaluating the constructs and assertions, and more broadly towards closer investigation into ways in which experiences are combined, recalled and projected. Commercially, the results could be used by businesses in the design and promotion of goods and services to improve efficiency and the nature of the experience. The constructs could inform recycling policy and the selection of mementos for older people facing radical disposition.
PhD in Management Studies