I Pay, therefore I Am (An A): Co-Creation of Value in Higher Education: An Abstract
Higher education is a service that has adopted the marketing discourse. Market principles position academia as an institution that offers a professional service for payment. Yet, there might be some tensions between intellectual goals (the core academic principles) and these principles. Some believe that this process leads to sovereign and rational students who would request and attain greater educational capital. Whereas most others view this process as one that results in lower intellectualism and academic standards, commodification of knowledge, elitism, and universities as professional degree, rather than knowledge, providers.
This research aims to explore how value is co-created by education providers and students at college level education, and the implications of this phenomenon. This research goal is significant primarily for two reasons: (1) Higher education is a big service industry and (2) It is increasingly becoming market-oriented and customer (student)-centered. This study looks at marketization as a value driver. It aims to understand how professors, who have a better understanding of “educational value” due to their expertise, approach the co-creation of value process. In other words, it investigates the concept of value creation in academia in the context of marketization, and aims to understand the implications of this approach from the supply perspective. The two main research questions are as follows:
What does co-creation of value mean in higher education?
What are the implications of co-creation of value in higher education?
This study is exploratory in nature, it utilizes a qualitative methodology. It involves analyses of textual data. Data was collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews with professors.
The findings from initial data analysis are categorized as: (1) Control versus participation: Professors from the marketized context see their role as the facilitator, and largely mention the importance of working with students in almost every stage of a course design. Professors in the less marketized context focus on having control in the course design; (2) Marketability of students: Co-creation of value in a marketized context largely means equipping students with practical knowledge and skills that would help them get a better paying job. In the less marketized context, professors emphasize educating students to be good citizens; (3) Meaning of knowledge: In the marketized context, professors talk about the importance of performing and making learning fun. In the less marketized context, professors follow a more straightforward approach to offering information; and (4) Finding a balance between student requests versus what they should learn: In the marketized context, professors feel more pressure to help students pass the course. In the less marketized context, professors focus on what they believe students should learn.