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Authors: Lucas Lunt (Texas Tech University, USA), Mayukh Dass (Texas Tech University), Piyush Kumar (University of Georgia), Guy Loneragan (Texas Tech University)
Voluntary stewardship is defined as a set of coordinated interventions that are designed to improve the use of the object of stewardship by promoting the selection of optimal regimens (Barlam et al. 2016). The concept is now at the forefront of both research and practice and calls for regulation and stewardship programs are now being made frequently for critical services in diverse areas such as healthcare, air and water pollution management services. Recently, The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America have published guides for both the development (Dellit et al. 2007) and implementation (Barlam et al. 2016) of antibiotic stewardship programs. While the importance and popularity of voluntary stewardship programs in services has increased dramatically, the academic research on these programs is limited and focuses largely on their goals and their attainment, with virtually no research on the role of marketing in increasing intervention program adoption to improve its overall success rate.
Stewardship programs result in major changes across service providers, their owners and managers, consumers, and society at large, often leading to a resistance toward adoption. In some ways this is a quintessential marketing problem involving exchanges across multiple stakeholders (Bagozzi 1975) and a marketing-focused perspective can help improve the development, design, implementation, and adoption of stewardship programs across critical services. To combat changes in the marketplace, it is common to see firms enter into alliances. Alliances serve many purposes, including: to acquire resources (Gulati 1999), to achieve competitive advantage (Varadarajan and Cunningham 1995), and to shape environmental policy and market behavior (Milne et al. 1996). To this end, this paper focuses on three research questions: (1) what is a holistic model of voluntary stewardship program adoption in services, (2) how do marketing factors and interventions affect the adoption of stewardship programs, and (3) how can structuring the intervention as an industry-wide alliance increase adoption of a stewardship program?
Given that this is early research into the stewardship of service programs, we use a grounded theory approach to address our research questions. We have collected data from key stakeholders involved in developing a new stewardship program for agri-services. These data pertain to the stewardship program creation, implementation, and adoption and are collected from service providers, consumer advocates, and public health experts.
Based on these data, we propose a new model of voluntary stewardship adoption for critical services. The model incorporates the awareness, motivation, and capability of both potential adopters and those that influence adoption.