We use cookies to improve your website experience. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Services Marketing Quarterly

For a Special Issue on

The role of consumers in system-level health service design

Manuscript deadline
01 June 2023

Cover image - Services Marketing Quarterly

Special Issue Editor(s)

Joan Carlini, Department of Marketing, Griffith University, Australia
[email protected]

Laurie Wu, Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management School of Sport, Tourism & Hospitality Management, Temple University
[email protected]

Georgia Tobiano, Menzies Health Institute Queensland
[email protected]

Dr Rachel Muir, School of Nursing & Midwifery, Griffith University
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

The role of consumers in system-level health service design

Background - Healthcare is going through a transformation process, and there is growing interest in integrating user and consumer knowledge into the design and innovation of healthcare service systems. How and why tacit consumer knowledge can be leveraged to propel healthcare service innovation remains an underexplored research arena that deserves scholarly attention (Coulter & Ellins, 2006). On one hand, the service coproduction literature and the service design perspective emphasises consumer centricity and actively encourages the collaboration of service organisations’ internal and external stakeholders to generate experiential value and to maximise business goals (Kurtmollaiev et al., 2018). On the other hand, unlike other services, healthcare service is different, complex and requires domain-specific professional knowledge to guide line-level service practices (Cengiz & Fidan, 2017; Lee, 2006). Moreover, the healthcare consumers’ characteristics and needs are unique. Operationalising consumer centric models of healthcare services requires a holistic approach of design balancing the healthcare system’s need for efficiency and the healthcare consumer’s expectations for customisation (Sheppard, 2002).

Aim & Objective - Against this backdrop, this special issue is proposed to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogues around the theme of healthcare service coproduction. More specifically, this special issue aims to generate theory-building understanding of ‘how and why’ healthcare consumers are involved in system-level healthcare service design. Here, the term healthcare consumer is used to define laypersons, patients, families and their representatives working in active partnership at various levels across the healthcare system in direct care, organisational design and governance, and policy making, to improve health care services and health outcomes. The involvement of consumers in the healthcare service coproduction process is critical and their role in the healthcare service coproduction process spans beyond actions in self-care. Recently, there has been a marked increase and emphasis on the healthcare consumers’ growing involvement in system-level planning, service development and research (Armstrong et al., 2013). An urgency exists to develop theory-building knowledge regarding the mechanisms, processes and conditions that foster consumer involvement and coproduction in system-level healthcare design.

Potential Contributions - The collated set of scholarly work in this special issue will present contemporary theoretical endeavours and empirical examinations around the antecedents, processes and consequences of consumer involvement and coproduction in system-level healthcare design. Joining thought leadership across health system innovation and service design thinking, this special issue fosters interdisciplinary collaborations that aim to bring positive transformations to individual healthcare experiences as well as the healthcare industry (Büttgen et al., 2012; Sharma & Conduit, 2016). Theory-building work exploring the factors and conditions driving and/or inhibiting consumer involvement and coproduction in system-level healthcare design will blueprint paths to consumer-centric healthcare service innovation, which will be valuable to scholars and practitioners alike (Büttgen et al., 2012; Sharma & Conduit, 2016). Research bridging consumer involvement and coproduction in system-level healthcare design with personal, social and economic consequences will stimulate a new wave of scholarly thinking and practical innovations that aim to empower the healthcare consumers, and in particular those that may be experiencing vulnerability (Carlini & Robertson, 2022), or may include minority or ethnic groups, lacking financial or educational resources, and/or physical and /or cognitive impairments (Alves et al., 2016; Etgar (2008).

While there is growing attention in engaging health consumer in health service design, there remains a dearth in literature that provides theoretical and practical contributions. The findings show that despite the interest in, and calls for cocreation in health care (Donthu et al., 2020), there is a scarcity of literature in health service coproduction in all disciplines . Given the dearth of research and priority status, this special issue establishes our current understanding of health service coproduction by critically examining, evaluating, and synthesising the role of consumer involvement in health service design. While the research insights shared in this special issue will be gained from the healthcare service context, the accumulated body of theoretical knowledge will also speak to service marketing scholars coming from a wide array of industry backgrounds. The stimulated interdisciplinary dialogues fostered by this special issue will further inspire thought leaders from various domains to collaboratively examine the exciting field of healthcare services with a unique services marketing lens.


In sum, we seek to develop an interdisciplinary approach to develop applied and theoretical awareness of service design that contributes to understanding how quality health care is coproduced. To achieve this aim, this special issue will publish manuscripts that may focus on interdisciplinary approaches, include consumer/practitioner co-authored studies, and contributions from non-Western countries are encouraged. Fitting with the journal’s scope, papers can be conceptual or empirical, but should provide strong theoretical and practical implications. Empirical papers should clearly report consumer contributions and may build on the extant existing health service coproduction research (for example see, Carlini & Robertson, 2022; Staniszewska et al., 2017), as well as those that draw on enabling theories from other fields. Research that is submitted to this special issue can focus on the following broad research questions, but should not be limited by them:

  • What role do health consumers play in health service design?
  • How can consumers' personal resources be integrated?
  • What, if any personal consequence does coproduction have?
  • How can vulnerable and potentially marginalised consumers resources be integrated?
  • What barriers restrict consumer participation?
  • What organisational factors (dis) enable consumer coproduction?
  • How can service researchers address social and economic inequality to service design?
  • How can technology (dis) enable the integration of perspectives?
  • How can theoretical engagement advance knowledge?
  • In addition to consumers, how can other actors contribute to service design?
  • What are the enablers and barriers to service design coproduction in non-Western countries?
  • How can evaluation practice be embedded in service design?

Submission Instructions

Expected publication is early 2024

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

We use cookies to improve your website experience. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies.