Reducing inequalities through strengths-based co-creation: indigenous students’ capabilities and transformative service mediator practices

Janet Davey, Raechel Johns, James Blackwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Service marketers are increasingly aware of inequalities triggered by service systems and the need to prioritize practical strategies for reducing inequalities. A priority area for the Australian Government is reducing university education inequities for Indigenous Australians. This paper aims to examine how Indigenous Australian university students build and leverage their capabilities and strengths, harnessing service providers’ efforts towards enhancing participation (and completion) in university education – an essential transformative outcome for reducing inequalities. Design/methodology/approach: A three-stage qualitative research process explored student retention/completion and capability building among a sample of Indigenous Australian university students, typically under-represented in the higher education sector. Findings: Applying a manual thematic analysis, the findings reveal Indigenous students’ value co-creating capabilities (summarized in three dimensions) harness multi-actor processes extending beyond the service provider. Five dimensions summarize the service provider’s transformative service activities that strengthen capabilities for Indigenous Australian university students. Networks of place (a structured Indigenous Centre); processes (university systems); and people (social support), including peer-to-peer networks, are important service assemblages. Practical implications: The authors present implications for supporting Indigenous students in persisting with and completing higher education. More broadly, the authors provide recommendations for service marketers to resolve barriers to service equality and enhance strengths-based approaches to value co-creation. Originality/value: Underpinned by a strengths-based approach, the authors contribute towards an agenda of sustainable transformative services. Although considerable research reviews the experiences of Indigenous students, little research has taken a transformative service research perspective. Addressing this, the authors propose a conceptual framework linking consumers’ agentic capabilities with transformative service mediator practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-835
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2023


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