Stigma in payday borrowing: a service ecosystems approach

Chrysostomos Apostolidis, Jane Brown, Jillian Dawes Farquhar

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This study aims to explore stigma in payday borrowing by investigating how the stigma associated with using such a service may spill over and affect other people, entities and relationships beyond the user within a service ecosystem.

In-depth interviews exploring consumers’ lived experiences and stigma were combined with publicly available reports from key stakeholders within the payday loan (PDL) industry to create a qualitative, text-based data set. The transcripts and reports were then analysed following thematic protocols.

Analysis reveals that the stigma associated with using a stigmatised service spills over, affecting not only the borrower but other actors within the service ecosystem. The analysis uncovers three important interactions that spilled over between the actors within the stigmatised service ecosystem (SSE), which can be damaging, enabling or concealed.

Research limitations/implications
This study introduces and explores the concept of “SSEs” and investigates the impact of stigma beyond the dyadic relationships between service providers and users to consider the actors within the wider ecosystem. The findings reframe existing understandings about stigma, as this study finds that stigmatised services can play both a positive (enabling) and a negative (damaging) role within an ecosystem, and this study uncovers the role of stigma concealments and how they can affect relationships and value co-creation among different actors.

Practical implications
This study provides evidence for more robust policies for addressing stigma in different SSEs by mapping the effects of stigma spillover and its effects on the borrower and other actors.

This study contributes to reframing marketing priorities by extending existing work on consumer stigma by showing how the stigma of a PDL may spill over and affect other actors within a service ecosystem. Significantly, the interactions between the actors may have positive as well as negative outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2737-2764
Number of pages28
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2023

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