Transformative service research, service dominant logic and financial wellbeing : exploring a service ecosystem approach to student financial capability support at a Scottish University
Musarurwa, Hillary Jephat
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This thesis proposes adopting a service eco-system approach to developing financial capability that can result in an improvement of the financial well-being (FWB) amongst university students. To achieve this aim, the thesis draws on insights and implications from transformative services research (TSR) and service-dominant logic (SDL) to develop a financial capability intervention. The thesis focuses on student FWB because students are more vulnerable to the consequences of negative financial behaviour since they are at a stage in life where their skills, attitudes and financial practices are still emerging. There is extensive literature confirming that poor financial management can affect students’ health, academic performance and future employment opportunities. The thesis answers the research question, “how can an actor-to-actor ecosystem provide transformative service that results in improved financial well-being for students?” This was done by developing the Well-being Support Actor to Actor (A2A) Ecosystem Framework that identified a service ecosystem made up of different actors who are co creating value and interacting through service co-design and resource integration that brings about wellbeing outcomes for end-users. The designed conceptual framework was tested using a Mixed Methods Research approach. Data was collected through an online survey (n=149) of university students that preceded the piloting of a collaborative intervention design, in which a co-design workshop was an integral element. The qualitative data was collected through interviews (n=26) with participants from within the university ecosystem, observations made during the co-design workshop and the roll -out of the intervention. The qualitative evidence shows that universities can play a crucial role in improving financial well-being through student-led financial capability programs. There is also evidence to the fact that institutional arrangements and context of co-creation can limit and affect the results of user generated solutions. The study also contributes to knowledge about the psychological influences (attitudes towards debt, attitude towards money and locus of control) on the financial behaviours, FWB and financial status of students. On the practical side, data shows how transformative service organisations - like credit unions and universities - and end-users like students can develop interventions that improve the financial capability of young people. There is ample evidence that students can lead the process and use their lived experiences to help their peers relate with their own struggles as they navigate through the financial management maze. Policymakers and decision-makers at universities should deliberately move to close the observed gaps between university managers’ claims about the need to provide financial capability support to students and their lack of response when there was an emerging solution coming from the end-users themselves. Measures can be put in place to provide the requisite support for student-led financial education and counselling to take place within the university setting.