• Embracing the consumer : an exploration of what current marketing theory can teach the youth justice system in England and Wales about how to engage with young people

      Thorne, Andrew (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-10)
      ABSTRACT The impact of business theories on the youth justice system that arrived through New Public Management (NPM) and became manifest in managerialism, is a relatively well researched phenomenon within the social sciences discipline. What is less well known are the origins of managerialism and its theoretical underpinnings within industrial production theory. It is the intention of this thesis to look at these origins within production theory from the perspective of the business discipline, and examine how they have been implemented within the youth justice system. This review and analysis will be supplemented by primary research from an online attitudinal survey that looked at how these changes were perceived by staff working within Youth Offending Teams (YOTs). What will be seen is that the respondents of the online survey bear out in their professional lives many of the conclusions of the academic research already completed. They dislike much of the practice associated with managerialism, and wish to work in a system that is focussed around building therapeutic relationship and based on increasing the engagement and participation of young people. The second part of the thesis takes this research one step on, and asks practically how practice can be updated. It will be argued that the theoretical underpinnings of managerialist practice are outdated in the private and public sector due to the rise of consumerism allied with the power of the internet and increased consumer choice. It will be suggested that once again the discipline of business should be studied and copied, and the lead from successful consumer facing businesses followed, where increasing consumer participation and engagement in products and services is seen as a key way of gaining competitive advantage. Value co-creation, the marketing model that theorises this approach, would provide a way of incorporating a consumer focus into the youth justice system. In addition it will be proposed that Taylorist production theory should also be updated to one that is consumer focussed – lean theory – a model that already has political traction in the public sector. Through the use of these models it will be argued that the youth justice system can move from a managerialised production-led system that ignores young people to something that embraces the consumer society that surrounds it and engages and uses the skills of young people within the system to engage in their rehabilitation.