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Transformative Service Practice in Higher Education: A Cautionary Note

Steven A Taylor, Chiharu Ishida, Joon Ho Lim, Duleep Delpechitre


The following study calls for introducing transformative service research (TSR) into higher education marketing practices and theory by (1) incorporating eudaimonic wellbeing into constitutive and operational definitions of value co-creation and marketing “success,” and (2) theoretically embracing a service dominant logic underlying the marketing of higher education. A study of 232 undergraduate students in the United States is presented that investigates the linkages between students’ perceptions of the perceived value and measures of eudaimonic wellbeing associated with course offerings. Results reveal that: (1) the purported unidimensional nature of Waterman et al.’s (2010) QEWB scale of eudaimonic wellbeing is not apparent in an educational context; (2) students’ perceptions of the perceived value are positively related to measures of student engagement but poorly related to measures of eudaimonic wellbeing; (3) the centrality dimension of materialism moderates the relationship between perceived value and eudaimonic wellbeing (as purposeful personal responsiveness); and (4) students’ perceptions of perceived value indirectly contribute to various forms of eudaimonic wellbeing through different forms of student engagement. The results suggest support for efforts to incorporate TSR into academic practices related to business education. However, for this to occur, the marketing emphasis in higher education will have to take care with marketization emphases (student satisfaction, training, etc.), instead focusing on marketing appeals that encourage higher education stakeholder groups to more greatly value eudaimonic goal achievement.

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