The transformative service paradox: the dilemma of wellbeing trade-offs

Rebekah Russell-Bennett, Rory Mulcahy, Kate Letheren, Ryan McAndrew, Uwe Dulleck

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Purpose: A transformative service aims to improve wellbeing; however, current approaches have an implicit assumption that all wellbeing dimensions are equal and more dimensions led to higher wellbeing. The purpose of this paper is to present evidence for a new framework that identifies the paradox of competing wellbeing dimensions for both the individual and others in society � the transformative service paradox (TSP). Design/methodology/approach: Data is drawn from a mixed-method approach using qualitative (interviews) and quantitative data (lab experiment) in an electricity service context. The first study involves 45 household interviews (n�=�118) and deals with the nature of trade-offs at the individual level to establish the concept of the TSP. The second study uses a behavioral economics laboratory experiment (n�=�110) to test the self vs. other nature of the trade-off in day-to-day use of electricity. Findings: The interviews and experiment identified that temporal (now vs. future) and beneficiary-level factors explain why individuals make wellbeing trade-offs for the transformative service of electricity. The laboratory experiment showed that when the future implication of the trade-off is made salient, consumers are more willing to forego physical wellbeing for environmental wellbeing, whereas when the �now� implication is more salient consumers forego financial wellbeing for physical wellbeing. Originality/value: This research introduces the term �Transformative Service Paradox� and identifies two factors that explain why consumers make wellbeing trade-offs at the individual level and at the societal level; temporal (now vs. future) and wellbeing beneficiary.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)637-663
    JournalJournal of Service Management
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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