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Engagement Within A Service System: A Fuzzy Set Analysis In A Higher Education Setting

Max Sim, Jodie Conduit, C. Plewa
Published 2018 · Business

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Purpose Despite recognition that organizations operate in interrelated service systems, extant literature has focused strongly on dyadic engagement relationships (e.g. customer-to-brand). Taking into account the multiple engagement foci that exist within a service system, the purpose of this paper is to examine the interdependence among engagement with these multiple foci in a higher education setting. Specifically, the research investigates different configurations of engagement dimensions with the service provider and brand as they pertain to engagement with the study context. Design/methodology/approach A total of 251 students were surveyed in regards to their engagement with a service provider (lecturer), brand (university) and study context. Data analysis utilized Fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis to identify the unique combinations of causal condition consistent with high student engagement with the study context. Findings Five solutions were identified, each with a different constellation of engagement dimensions. Most solutions entailed engagement with both the service provider and the brand, and cognitive processing (service provider) emerged as a core condition for every solution. This suggests service providers should seek to engage with consumers, particularly from a cognitive perspective, understanding this will support engagement with the context of study. Originality/value This research provides evidence that students can engage with their study context through different configurations of engagement with the service provider and the brand. Thus, it demonstrates the need to examine constellations of engagement dimensions related to multiple focal objects to understand their interdependencies and potential influence on engagement at a higher level of aggregation in a complex service environment.
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