Network well-being from a balanced centricity perspective

Fabian Groven*, Gaby Odekerken-Schröder, Sandra Zwakhalen, Jan Hamers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose – This paper aims to explore how tensions and alignments between different actors’ needs in a transformative services network affect balanced centricity, which is an indicator of well-being. Balanced centricity describes a situation in which all network actors’ interests and needs are
fulfilled simultaneously. In such cases, all actors are better off, which increases both individual actors’ and overall actor-network well-being.

Design/methodology/approach – The empirical study takes place in nursing homes in which in-bed baths represent co-created service encounters that affect the well-being of focal actors (i.e. patients), frontline service employees (i.e. nurses) and transformative service mediators (i.e. family members), who have potentially competing needs. Using a qualitative, phenomenological approach, the study inductively explores and deductively categorizes actors’ personal experiences to gain deep, holistic insights into the service network and its complex web of actor interdependencies.

Findings – The resulting conceptual model of balanced centricity identifies actors’ lower-order needs as different manifestations of the psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness. If actors’ needs are aligned, their psychological needs can be satisfied, which facilitates balanced centricity. If actors exhibit competing needs though, balanced centricity is impeded.

Practical implications – This study establishes actors’ psychological needs as the origin of tensions/alignments in multi-actor networks that impede/contribute to balanced centricity. Transformative service providers should try to address all actors’ psychological needs when co-creating
services to achieve network well-being.

Originality/value – This study adopts a novel, multi-actor perspective and thereby presents a conceptual model that contributes to the understanding of balanced centricity. Future research could test this model in other transformative service settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2021

JEL classifications

  • m31 - Marketing


  • Qualitative research
  • Co-creation
  • Well-being
  • Health services
  • Transformative
  • Service systems
  • Transformative service research
  • Balanced centricity
  • Network well-being
  • Psychological needs
  • Co-creation of services
  • Tensions
  • alignments
  • Multi-actor perspective


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