Transformative service and the sense of wellbeing: A study of ESOL programme and its impact on the lives of immigrants in the UK

  • Wardah Hakimah Haji Sumardi

Student thesis: Phd


Transformative service research is claimed to be at its infancy stage with calls for more research in the area (Ostrom et al., 2014; Roy, 2017). Although past studies have examined the elements of service design (see Hamed et al., 2017; Blocker and Barrios, 2015) as well as value co-creation (see McColl Kennedy et al., 2017; Zayer et al., 2015), within transformative service these concepts are often treated in isolation without recognising that transformative service is holistic in nature. Against this backdrop, this thesis adopts a more holistic approach in exploring the nature of transformative service, particularly its design and the role and activities of the actors involved and examining their impact on service users’ wellbeing (outcome). This study which aims to address the main research question: “What is the nature of transformative service and how does it impact users’ wellbeing?” seeks to achieve this by looking at the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programme in England and Wales, a service in the education sector which has explicit transformative motives. This qualitative study which follows an interpretive philosophy consists of 28 semi-structured interviews with ESOL students comprised of immigrants from different parts of the world to the UK and 5 ESOL tutors. The interviews were thematically analysed producing themes that helped to answer the main research question. The key findings in this study present a comprehensive and more holistic view of transformative service, particularly on how service design and interactions and activities of the actors involved affect service users’ wellbeing. Crucially, the findings reveal the significance of the element of service design beyond the ESOL programme as well as the role and activities of actors’ (i.e. service users, service provider and other actors) in the user sphere of the value co-creation process in contributing to the service users’ wellbeing. The findings further reveal the dynamism and idiosyncratic nature of the elements of wellbeing that arise at multiple points of interactions between users and other actors throughout the transformative service experience. Lastly, the findings uncover the enablers and barriers of transformative service. The research identifies the need to stretch the lens of study beyond the service logic approach commonly used in the literature when studying transformative service. This entails putting emphasis on activities and interactions in both the joint sphere and user sphere of the value co-creation process, as promoted by customer dominant logic (Heinonen and Strandvik., 2015) as well as emphasis on other actors in the network who may co-create with others stakeholders, as promoted by the service ecosystem perspective (Vargo and Lusch, 2017). The research also identifies the need for a comprehensive approach capable of identifying the dynamism of users’ wellbeing throughout the transformative service experience, essentially from the service users’ perspective. By doing this, it is believed that the thesis can offer more holistic insights that add value to the understanding of the phenomenon in the literature.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJudith Zolkiewski (Supervisor) & Ebrahim Marandi (Supervisor)

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