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Empowering senior citizens via third places: Research driven model development of seniors' empowerment and social engagement in social places

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 17:52 authored by Meshram, K, O'Cass, A

Purpose: This paper aims to report on a qualitative study that explores senior citizen consumers' empowerment through social engagement in third places and their subsequent loyalty to third places.

Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected via a qualitative research design from four seniors' clubs in Australia using focus groups (12), and participant observation. The data were analyzed using QSR NVivo software using an interpretive approach.

Findings: Ten themes based on 34 codes were identified in the study, which were grouped to develop a conceptual model of the antecedents and consequences of seniors' empowerment in third places for further testing. The themes under consumer empowerment were important in assisting to understand the significance of place and social engagement within the place to empower seniors with a positive self-image, better access to information• and exercise of choices for smarter purchase decisions. The themes under social capital contributed to a better understanding of the ramification of social capital to marketing knowledge. This was particularly so for marketing constructs embedded in community or aggregate level issues such as value co-creation, relationship marketing, customer involvement and related outcomes. Finally the study reports three types of loyalty: cognitive, ultimate and communal loyalty, that underpinned the behavioral, attitudinal and cognitive dimension of loyalty. The findings suggested that consequent to seniors' social capital and feeling of empowerment in third places they display loyalty to the third place.

Research limitations/implications: The present study has three theoretical implications; first, it extends knowledge into the notion of third place which underlies the broader domain of servicescape. It also extends understanding of the significance of third places in practicing consumer centric marketing through consumer empowerment. The study also contributes to understanding how third places enhance seniors' social capital through social engagement. Practical implications - The managerial implications suggested by the findings provide a number of aspects that managers may consider in relation to service places in three key broad categories of customer-firm interest: improve customer patronage through community engagement, improve local business practices via customer-owner friendship, and redesigning spatial settings to deliver meaningful customer experiences.

Originality/value: This paper uses the concepts of social engagement within customer community in third places for the development of social capital and empowerment. It provides a customer centric focus to servicescape and incorporates recent works on third places, empowerment, social capital and loyalty.


Publication title

Journal of Services Marketing











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Copyright 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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Socio-economic Objectives


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