A career counseling service (CCS) provides an important measure of student satisfaction and contributes to the shaping of a higher education marketing strategy. However, the body of knowledge in the higher education domain is scant on how a CCS is created and delivered to suit the needs of students and the wider society. This study uses an explorative multiple-case study of the CCS across three different cultural contexts: UK, Italy, and China. The study adopted a service ecosystem perspective, building on contingency theory (i)to analyze the CCS as a tri-level scheme – that is to say, at the micro, meso, and macro levels – and identify the themes and underlying constructs in the co-creation of the CCS at each level and (ii)to highlight the disparities in CCSs across different cultural contexts. Six dominant themes in CCSs emerged – namely, quality assurance, a student-centered approach, mental health, industry collaboration, promotion of service, and digital platforms. The findings revealed that the role of the CCS is transitioning from a mere job placement service to a strategic and administrative function, which interacts with and influences various actors in the higher education ecosystem. Across the different cultural contexts, disparities in the identified themes were ascertained and explained.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s)or with their consent.
- Career counseling service
- service-dominant logic
- service ecosystem
- contingency theory