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Mr. Tameem Al Bassam PhD Researcher email@example.com Information Systems Evaluation and Integration Group (ISEing) Brunel Business School Brunel University Uxbridge, UB8 3PH Middlesex UK Phone: +44 (0) 1895266025 Dr. Sarmad Al Shawi Lecturer firstname.lastname@example.org Information Systems Evaluation and Integration Group (ISEing) Brunel Business School Brunel University Uxbridge, UB8 3PH Middlesex UK Phone: +44 (0) 1895266025
Buttle 1996). service quality has become an established area in the marketing literature. Though. 2002. etc. there has been an abundance of research on the measurement issues of service quality. 1996. and investigated its nature in the traditional face-to-face service environment (see. In current service literature. and in business practice. customer retention.. the most central factor to sustainable competitive advantage is to provide the best possible service quality which will result in improved customer satisfaction. Thus. 1994. measuring and managing service quality from the consumers’ point of view is still a developing and a challenging issue. 1996). 2002.Analysing the Use of the SERVQUAL Model to Measure Service Quality in Specific-Industry Contexts The survival of any organisation in a highly competitive environment depends on its ability to provide the best service quality to its existing customers as the quality of service is a key factor in the success of any organisation. Hallowell. Keywords: Service Quality. 1985).). Sureshchanar et al. SERVQUAL Model. Both from the academic community point of view. in a severe competitive environment. which have contributed to the development of a solid research foundation. 2004). The main aim of this research-in-progress paper is to review comprehensively previous and contemporary literature on service quality measurement and to discuss the key issues on the development of an industry-specific scale for measuring service quality from the customer’s perspective in specific-industry contexts. Introduction Nowadays. and profitability (Sureshchandar et al. There have been many research studies that have studied. The significance of the service quality concept derives researchers and scholars to address this issue and to investigate it further across different service sectors. however. Thus.. Moreover. Facts indicate that more attention is needed toward developing an industry-specific scale for measuring service quality from the end-user perspective within specific-industry contexts.. 1. throughout the past two decades. there are a number of key instruments available for measuring service quality performance. However. It appears that service quality is not a new concept. examined. the SERVQUAL model has been the major generic model used to measure and manage service quality across different service settings and various cultural backgrounds (Buttle. for example. numerous traditional service quality models have been developed to assess and evaluate service quality performance in the traditional service environment such as the SERVQUAL model (Parasuraman et al. a number of theoretical and empirical criticisms of the measurement . This study contributes to knowledge in the field of service quality research as it suggests future research directions for academicians in related research.. apart from its wide use. it is well established that measurement of service quality is an important procedure for improving the performance of service quality (Jayawardhena et al. It is well established that the measurement of service quality is an important procedure for the improvement of the performance of any organisation. Rust and Oliver.
Another advantage is cost. there are some disadvantages inherent in this type of research. Each approach has its advantages and limitations and each is mainly appropriate for a particular context. Consequently. and mixed research methodologies are the main methodological approaches used in most academic research. more attention was paid by researchers and scholars toward the development of an alternative industry-specific research instruments for measuring service quality. the validity of the SERVQUAL model as a generic instrument for measuring service quality across different service sectors has been raised. It has been emphasised that the main aim of this research-in-progress paper is to review comprehensively previous and contemporary literature on service quality measurement and to discuss the key issues on the development of an industry-specific scale for measuring service quality from the customer’s perspective in specific-industry contexts. p. 68) stated that “It has been suggested that indust ryspecific measures of service quality might be more appropriate than a single generic scale”. It is not always expensive to obtain secondary data and in many cases they are available for free to the public. Also. There are different sources from which to obtain secondary data. Research Approach Saunders et al. 2008). However. Ladhari (2008. 2. In this paper. 246) defined secondary research as “data used for a research project that were originally collected for some other purpose”. . p. and websites. there has been an argument that a simple revision of the SERVQUAL items is not enough for measuring service quality across different service settings. Quantitative research. This study adopts the approach that is supposed to be more suitable to achieve its research objective. This argument was supported by Dabholkar et al. the researcher applied them in the development of the literature review. (2007. future research on service quality should involve the development of industry-specific measures of service quality”. to find things out". p. therefore. The secondary data collected for this study gave the researcher the opportunity to find out useful information and data about the service quality topic in general. secondary forms of research will be conducted. As a result. (1996. There are many forms through which secondary data may be presented. 610) defined research as "the systematic collection and interpretation of information with a clear purpose. Ladhari (2008) reported that in recent years. journal articles.model have been pointed out (Ladhari. In order to accomplish the main aim of this study. One of these is that in some cases that data are produced and designed for different purposes and not aimed for the specific case study the research may be concerned with. Saunders et al. a number of industry-specific research instruments have been developed in the past several years in different service settings and various countries and cultural backgrounds. First of all. p. 14) who stated that “It appears that a measure of service quality across industries is not feasible. Some of the advantages of secondary data lie in the time factor as they are quick to obtain and in many cases available for the public. The key issue when choosing a correct research methodology approach to examine and explore a particular research problem is the suitability of the selected method to accomplish and address the research objectives. (2007. qualitative research. including books.
2 Importance and Benefits of Service Quality Lewis et al. This will then lead to a detailed review of the SERVQUAL model. The importance. (1994) have explored and identified a number of possible benefits service organisations can look forward to when they pursue service quality. p. This has lead to a continued focus on service quality. improved corporate image. and identify customers’ requirements and to try to meet them in order to provide a high standard of service quality. its criticisms and limitations. or attitude. Parasuraman et al. The section will begin with the process of defining key terms. 3. 16) defined perceived service quality as “a global judgment. p. 42) defined service quality as “a measure of how well the service level delivered matches customer expectations. Organisations have recognised a number of potential benefits derived from implementing service quality programs. increasing opportunities for crossselling. delivering quality service means confirming to customer expectations on a consistent basis”. entails organisations and firms to investigate. Literature Review The main aim of this section is to present a broad comprehensive and contemporary review of the literature on the service quality. profit gains. service quality is usually defined based on consumers’ assessment. 3. At the same time. (1985. customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.1 Definition of Service Quality In service literature. Therefore. these models have been aimed to be adopted by service organisations as a tool to assist in quality improvement programs. G9) defined service quality as "the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs". Parasuraman et al. this study looks into service quality as the standard of excellence toward fulfilling customers’ requirements. In a literature review study. employee benefits. explore. including increasing customer satisfaction. Kotler and Armstrong (1996. Service organisations are competing to achieve sustainable competitive advantage through providing a high-quality service to their existing customers in a severely competitive environment. which contributes toward achieving customers’ ultimate satisfaction. and financial performance. This. customer retention. relating to the superiority of the service”.3. and the North American Gap School. the Holistic School. as it is essential to create and establish a solid foundation for this study. It is clear that defining service quality is an important step toward the development of a solid foundation for this study. contexts of adoption. and significance of service quality will be discussed. (1988. 3) defined service quality as “the consumer’s judgment about a product’s overall excellence or superiority”. in turn. benefit. potential applications. namely the Nordic School. . being in line with the service literature.3 Formal Models of Service Quality There are a number of conceptual models that have been developed by various researchers and scholars world-wide to investigate the service quality concept. Seth et al. p. This will be followed by describing the three formal models of service quality and their schools of thought. including its evolution and development. Zeithaml (1988. 3. discussions. p.
Service-Profit Chain Model (Heskett et al. 5. 1994). 1984). securities brokerage. Gap Model and SERVQUAL Model (Parasuraman et al. 3. 7. 4. for example. It was developed on the bases of data collection from four service settings in the United States of America including retail banking. Technical-Functional Quality Model (Gronroos.. 10.4 The North American Gap School Parasuraman. The model development was based on exploratory qualitative research projects including focus group interviews with consumers and in-depth interviews with firms’ executives. They are considered the key contributors to the North American School (Gap Analysis School) of thought concerning service quality. namely the Nordic School. 2. These conceptual models along with other models have contributed to the development of various schools of thought of service quality. 1985. and Berry (1985) are three researchers in the service quality academic field from the United States of America. 41-50 . and Satisfaction-Service Quality Model (Spreng and Mackoy. 8.. Zeithaml. and the North American School (Gap Analysis School). Generally. Determinants of Service Quality 1. 3. 1996). in the current service marketing literature there are three key schools of service quality modelling. 6. 9. 1988). and product repair and maintenance. the Holistic School. (1985) pp. credit cards. Their research findings showed that service quality as perceived by customers is a comparison of the customers’ expectations with their perceptions of the performance of the actual service (See Figure 1). They have developed a research model (SERVQUAL Model) to examine the service quality concept. Access Communication Competence Courtesy Credibility Reliability Responsiveness Security Tangibles Understanding/ Knowing the Customer Word of Mouth Personal Needs Past Experience Expected Service Perceived Service Quality Perceived Service Figure 1 Determinants of Perceived Service Quality Source: Parasuraman et al.(2005) presented a list of key service quality models including.
.3. measuring and managing service quality from the consumer’s point of view is still rather a debatable issue. when necessary. It is applicable across different empirical contexts and various countries and cultural backgrounds. The SERVQUAL model was theoretically and empirically studied. 1990. including: 1. and non-profit settings (Buttle. 1993). banking and financial services sector. 3. for example. South Africa. architectural services. fast food chain. It allows multi-unit retail companies to assess the level of service quality offered by individual stores and to group them into different sectors with different quality images. can be adapted or supplemented to fit the characteristics or specific research needs of a particular organisation”. However. Australia.5 A Generic Measure of Service Quality: the SERVQUAL Scale Apparently. telecommunications industry. It allows the firm to classify its customers into different segments based on their individual SERVQUAL scores. p. In addition. 4. and discussed in several academic studies. Nevertheless. commercial. Parasuraman et al. However. for example. hotels and leisure services. It provides the opportunity for a firm to assess its service quality performance on the basis of each dimension individually as well as the overall dimensions. higher education. 6) stated that “SERVQUAL instrument is designed for use in a broad set of service business and provides a basic skeleton through its expectations/perceptions format encompassing statements for each of the five service quality dimensions. apparel retailing. car servicing. business-to-business channel partners. Korea. airline catering. the main aim of the model is to be employed as a generic instrument for measuring service quality across different service sectors. (1991b) proposed that the SERVQUAL instrument is developed for use in various service settings and provides a basic skeleton that can be adapted to fit the specific attributes of a particular organisation. It can be used on a regular basis to track customer perceptions of service quality of a particular firm compared to its competitors. Carman. it has been employed to measure service quality across different countries and various cultural backgrounds (Ladhari. hospitals and health-care sector. there are a number of key instruments available for measuring service quality. hospitality. and local government (see. recreational services. It was initiated in the late 1980s. This includes. it has been implemented to measure and assess service quality across different service. service quality is an old concept. accounting firms. Hong Kong. the . examined. retail chain. 2008). grown in the 1990s. the SERVQUAL instrument has been the major technique used to measure service quality and has been extensively implemented and valued by academics and practitioners. Cyprus. the United States of America. (1988. China. industrial. 1996. 2008) including. 2. library services. Parasuraman et al. In addition. Parasuraman et al. (1988) identified a number of potential applications for the SERVQUAL model. 1994. travel and tourism. The skeleton. Johns. information systems. for example. and progressed in the 21st Century. Ladhari. In the literature. Parasuraman et al.
they argued that SERVQUAL has a number of empirical problems including low reliability and unstable dimensionality. he emphasised that previous research studies criticise SERVQUAL for its focus on . He stated that it has been recommended that service quality is more precisely and correctly evaluated by measuring only perceptions of quality. the operationalisation of SERVQUAL may have different interpretations as well. The previously mentioned academic research studies are examples of this. 1997. 1999) recognised a number of conceptual and empirical criticisms of SERVQUAL. statistical. On the other hand. However. From an operational perspective. Furthermore. Conceptually. 1996. He argued that theoretically SERVQUAL is founded on the basis of an expectationdisconfirmation model instead of an attitudinal model. Ladhari.Netherlands. Empirically. he argued that it is not possible to capture the changeability of each service quality dimension by four or five items. there are a few supports that customers evaluate service quality on the basis of perception-minus-expectation scores. as a result.. he pointed out that previous research suggested using perception-only scores rather than gap scores for the overall assessment of service quality. 1999. Ladhari (2008) summarised a list of theoretical and empirical criticisms of the model. for example. and empirical criticisms of the measurement instrument have been identified and mentioned (Buttle. Buttle (1996) identified several theoretical and operational criticisms of SERVQUAL. psychological theory or background. they argued that direct measurement of perceived service quality is more reliable. the United Arab Emirates.. he mentioned that the concept expectation is not well defined and can be interpreted from different perspectives. conceptual. Additionally.6 Criticisms and Limitations Clearly. 1995). regardless of its extensive use. operational. Also. Pitt et al. it is not based on a well-known established economic. In terms of the gap analysis. and the United Kingdom (see. a number of well-known international organisations have implemented it. In addition. (1997. Babakus and Boller. they criticised using two different instruments for measuring two different concepts (perceptions and expectations) to measure a third concept (perceived service quality). they argued on the uncertainty of the expectations construct as different definitions and views of the concept resulted from uncertainly defined concept. Last but not least. SERVQUAL stress and emphasise the process of service delivery rather than the endings and the outcomes of the service encounter. there are a number of other unpublished SERVQUAL studies apart from the above-mentioned examples of empirical and cultural contexts. Moreover. such as the Midland and Abbey National Banks. First. the SERVQUAL instrument has been extensively adopted by several academic researchers and practitioners worldwide to measure service quality. Moreover. Lam 2002. 2008). Van Dyke et al. he argued that the use of gap scores is not the right method because of the lack of the support in literature to consumers evaluating service quality in terms of perception-minus-expectation. Van Dyke et al. Moreover. he stated that consumers evaluate service quality on the basis of standards other than expectations. numerous theoretical. Instead. 1992. 3.
14) who stated that “It appears that a measure of service quality across industries is not feasible. Ladhari (2008) stated that all of the related research studies described service quality as multi-dimensional construct. 21) who stated that “although it has probably been the best. 1990. 1996.. Conclusion It appears that regardless of the extensive acceptance and adoption of SERVQUAL. for example. 2008). the United States of America. Brown et al.. a number of specific-industry measures have been developed to measure service quality (Ladhari. 2002. Croatia. there is a general agreement among researchers that a simple adaptation of the SERVQUAL dimensions is unsatisfactory for measuring service quality across a variety of service settings (Carman. 2007) . 2006). for example. 2008. therefore. It can be argued that SERVQUAL is applicable to contexts close to its original setting”. hotels . Therefore. For these reasons. for example. Korea. Wilkins et al.. and Spain (see. p. 2007). restaurants. In view of the criticisms mentioned. Belgium. In addition. 2007. 2002. 1993.. It is clear that evaluating and assessing service quality differs from one customer group to another and from one circumstance to another. it has been suggested that developing industry-specific scales for measuring service quality can be more suitable than a single generic scale (Caro and Garcia. Akbaba. 2002. hospitals. the review of previous literature has documented a need for a future work to be done in order to discover additional appropriate and suitable specific-industry measures for service quality in further service industries and sectors. the number and nature of dimensions change on the bases of the service contexts. Internet retailing. Australia. Sureshchandar et al. Subsequently. Dabholkar et al. future research on service quality should involve the development of industry-specific measures of service quality”. This argument is supported by Dabholkar et al. Van Dyke et al. 4. Canada. the scales have been developed in different countries and various cultural backgrounds. retail banks. including. and most popular approach available during the 1990s.. Moreover. Janda et al. 78). Sureshchandar et al. there has been a severe hesitation concerning its future use as a tool for measuring service quality. including. researchers have argued that there is a doubt about the applicability of a single generic scale for measuring service quality across a range of service settings (Jabnoun and Khalifa. p. for example. Hong Kong.. Researchers are advised to describe the empirical context in which the specific model was developed and the contexts in which it can be applied.the process of service delivery instead of the result and the outcome of service encounters. 2005. and higher education (see. career centres. However. This argument is supported by Robinson (1999. it is becoming apparent that it has some significant shortcomings. . the United Arab Emirates. p. Turkey. Akbaba. 1997). 2006. Ekiz and Bavik. (1996. India. Caro and Garcia.
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Mukherjee. L.. Van Dyke. V.. T. “Cautions on the use of SERVQUAL measure to assess the quality of information systems services”. (1999). A. L. Volume 30. quality. “Antecedents and consequences of service quality in consumer evaluation of self-service Internet technologies”.. pp. 55. Zeithaml. “Measuring information systems service quality: concerns on the use of the SERVQUAL questionnaire”. (2007). and Berry. July. Decision Sciences. “Communication and control processes in the delivery of service quality”. and Kappelman. N.R.. 195-208. Kappelman. L. (1997). Prybutok. pp. Volume 52. (1988). International Journal of Hospitality Management. Volume 26. and value: a means-end model and synthesis of evidence”. pp. Journal of Marketing. Number 4. MIS Quarterly. Volume 28. Summer. 117138.. C. 2-22. pp. V.A. April. 56. T.P. Number 2. L.52. Shamdasani. The Service Industries Journal. B. and Herington. (1988). Journal of Marketing. 54. pp. Volume 21. Malhotra. H. A. Van Dyke. 15. and Prybutok. V. V. Merrilees. Parasuraman. Number 1. “Toward an understanding of total service quality in hotels”.R. 57. (2008). Wilkins. Volume 52. “Consumer perceptions of price. p. Number 3.A. . June. Zeithaml. 35-48. 53. P.P.A. A. 840-853.
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