Responsibility and weil-being: Resource integration under responsibilization in expert services
Responsibilization, or the shift of functions and risks from providers and producers to consumers, has become an increasingly common policy in service systems and marketplaces (e.g., financial, health, governmental). Because responsibilization is often considered synonymous with consumer agency and well-being, the authors take a transformative service research perspective and draw on resource integration literature to investigate whether responsibilization is truly associated with well-being. The authors focus on expert services, for which responsibilization concerns are particularly salient, and question whether this expanding policy is in the public interest. In the process, they develop a conceptualization of resource integration under responsibilization that includes three levels of actors (consumer, provider, and service system), the identification of structural tensions surrounding resource integration, and three categories of resource-integration practices (access, appropriation, and management) necessary to negotiate responsibilization. The findings have important implications for providers, public and institutional policy makers, and service systems, all of which must pay more active attention to the challenges consumers face in negotiating responsibilization and the resulting well-being outcomes.