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An integrative transformative service framework to improve engagement in a social service ecosystem: the case of He Waka Tapu

Maria Hepi (Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand)
Jeff Foote (Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand)
Jörg Finsterwalder (Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand)
Moana-o-Hinerangi (Indigemo Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand)
Sue Carswell (Department of Social Work and Human Services, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand)
Virginia Baker (Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, Christchurch and Wellington, New Zealand)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to understand the engagement between an indigenous social service provider and marginalised clients deemed “hard-to-reach” to gain an insight into how to improve the client’s engagement and well-being through transformative value co-creation.

Design/methodology/approach

The exploratory study’s findings draw on primary data employing a qualitative research approach through document analysis and in-depth interviews with clients, social workers and stakeholders of the focal social service provider in New Zealand.

Findings

The findings indicate that there are inhibitors and enablers of value or well-being co-creation. The lack of client resources and a mismatch between client and social worker are primary barriers. Other actors as well as cultural practices are identified as enablers of well-being improvement.

Research limitations/implications

This research reports on a single social service provider and its clients. These findings may not be readily transferrable to other contexts.

Practical implications

Findings indicate that social service providers require a heightened awareness of the inhibitors and enablers of social service co-creation.

Social implications

Both the integrative framework and the findings provide a sound critique of the prevailing policy discourse surrounding the stigmatisation of members of society deemed “hard-to-reach” and the usefulness of such an approach when aiming at resolving social issues.

Originality/value

This is the first exploratory study that reports on the engagement between a social service provider and its clients in a dedicated Māori (indigenous) context by employing an integrative research approach combining transformative service research, activity theory and engagement theory.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research is part of a project titled “Involving the ‘hard-to-reach’ in making services reachable” and is solely funded by the New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s “Health and Society Research Fund” during the period from October 2013 to September 2016.

Citation

Hepi, M., Foote, J., Finsterwalder, J., Moana-o-Hinerangi, M.-o., Carswell, S. and Baker, V. (2017), "An integrative transformative service framework to improve engagement in a social service ecosystem: the case of He Waka Tapu", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 4/5, pp. 423-437. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-06-2016-0222

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited