Background: Firms have yet to harness the resulting connections from peer-to-peer (P2P) interactions to positively influence and deliver transformative customer outcomes. This research is a qualitative case study to investigate how a firm in public healthcare improved wellness and overall well-being of community-dwelling seniors. The study proposed a decentralised, disintermediated and democratised governance model, for firms to manage P2P interactions.
Method: The investigator used an ethnographic study to gather contextual insights into the motivations, behaviours, experiences and outcomes of P2P participants and a firm’s actors. The focal firm, a public healthcare organisation, operated three wellness and activity centres (“Centres”) for community-dwelling seniors. These Centres aimed to promote supported self-management communities and reduce incidences of frequent hospital admissions. A three-part iterative analytical technique was used to analyse data from in-depth interviews with thirty-nine respondents and site observations.
Results: Through frequent interactions and participation at the Centres, there was a sense of community among member residents. Each of the twenty-nine resident respondents, average aged 66, reported a sense of purpose from leading and participating in activities at the Centres. The Centre managers facilitated P2P interactions by pairing residents to help one another. They developed communal norms to regulate P2P interactions. Example, a mainstay at all Centres was the daily morning exercises regardless of mobility status. The residents interviewed expressed improved control over their chronic conditions and reported positive experience overall. The data gathered supported the proposition: a strong sense of community was related to increased community engagement which associated with positive customer experience.
Conclusion: Unlike a physician-centric healthcare model where patients were passive recipients, the firm drew on the participation of community-dwelling seniors to manage the customer experience. The focal firm adopted a model that was decentralised, democratised and disintermediated, to shape P2P interactions wherein the member residents became proactive co-creators of value instead of mere recipients. This study contributed to the body of work in transformative service research. Although limited by external validity, the findings offered associations of the constructs like community engagement and self-efficacy. Future research could evaluate the sustained impact on well-being at different levels – individual, community, and population.