Resource Advantage Theory, Service Dominant Logic, and Healthcare Consumer Experiences: An Abstract
Resource advantage theory (RAT) and service-dominant logic (SDL) both endorse the use of operant resources and service skills as a means to formulate, create, and maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace (Hunt, 2002; 2004; Vargo & Lusch, 2004). Healthcare administrators wishing to deliver operant resources must first have an understanding of the attributes that lead to satisfaction in the healthcare context in which they compete. Higher-order constructs such as measuring satisfaction, value, empathy, and sacrifice sensitivity in healthcare are in stark contrast to most satisfaction surveys in healthcare which instead focus solely on patient perceptions of room cleanliness, courtesy of staff, taste of food, and perception of attentiveness to needs (Joiner & Lusch, 2016). While these need to be present in a healthcare context, what is missing is the operant resources that could lead to satisfaction such as value, empathy, and sacrifice. This research seeks to investigate this gap by using SEM to test relationships between satisfaction, value, empathy, and sacrifice in clinical and hospital settings.
Results provide strategic direction for hospital marketers with respect to what resources to provide to patients across two contexts (i.e. clinic and hospital). In the clinical setting, evidence points to the importance of the relationship and the experience as seen by the stronger relationship between empathy and satisfaction and the insignificant result between utilitarian value and satisfaction. The insignificant result is interesting in that many clinics are spending resources to make the process of attaining healthcare more efficient. Our evidence suggests that a more beneficial operant resource in the clinical context would be investing resources into enhancing the patient experience and training for empathy and relational aspects of the service experience.
Operant resources in the hospital context suggest utilitarian value as a strong driver of satisfaction. Often people go to hospitals for emergencies or surgeries, so the ability to efficiently deliver the task of healthcare becomes paramount in this context. The ability to deliver relational elements and understanding through empathy and hedonic value are also seen as important in the hospital setting, but the role of empathy is more important in the clinical setting. Finally, the role of sacrifice in the healthcare setting can be difficult for patients to understand given the complexity of the healthcare system. While moderation showed the results as equal, the fact that we see some significance in the hospital setting while insignificant in the clinic setting is of interest for discussion. Perhaps either the emergency aspect of hospital visits plays a role in selecting a hospital or the sacrifice of paying a higher deductible or out of pocket expense for a hospital versus a clinic plays a role.