Managing Service Quality: An International Journal

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ISSN : 0960-4529
Published by: Emerald (10.1108)
Total articles ≅ 1,162
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, Cristina Mele, Evert Gummesson
Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Volume 24; doi:10.1108/msq-09-2014-0201

In the last decade service research has been revitalized through main inputs coming from Service-Dominant (S-D) logic, Service Science and Network and Systems Theory.\ud \ud S-D logic has contributed with a tentative higher level service theory of the best contributions of the past, and pointing directions for the future. Through the deployment of its premises and axioms, S-D logic renewed the service field and focused on resource integration, value-co-creation, actor-to-actor interaction (A2A), service ecosystems and institutions as key topics in marketing theory (Vargo and Lusch, 2008, 2011). The foundational idea of "service for service exchange" offers a unified understanding of the purpose and nature of organizations, markets and society. This idea has been recently further exploited in highlighting the open, complex and adaptive nature of service ecosystems (Wieland et al., 2012)
Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Volume 24, pp 643-683; doi:10.1108/msq-09-2013-0187

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to summarize and classify extant research and to better understand the past, present, and future state of the theory of value co-creation. Its main objectives are: to identify the different theoretical perspectives and research streams that characterize and define the co-creation literature, and to highlight the connections between them; to look for emerging trends and gaps in the literature by comparing the most recent papers with those representing the field's core. Design/methodology/approach – The paper relies on bibliometric data: co-citation techniques were employed to select, analyze, and interpret citation patterns within the co-creation literature. Findings – The paper identified two main clusters, as well as specific research streams and common themes, representing scholarly journals’ publications on co-creation over the past years. These research streams and themes apply three different theoretical perspectives: service science, innovation and technology management, and marketing and consumer research. Data from the most recent publications has been used to verify if and how the original streams and themes are reflected in the contemporary debate. Research limitations/implications – Inevitably, the findings of the analysis have limitations related to the research design, the databases, and the applied bibliometric methods. Practical implications – From a practical perspective, the research impacts on theory building, management decision making, and teaching. Originality/value – This study depicts the remarkable development of the literature on co-creation and shows the latent structure underlying its different research streams. To the best knowledge, this study is the first to determine co-citation frequencies from both the SSCI and Scopus databases.
, Sergio Barile, , , Luca Carrubbo
Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Volume 24, pp 565-591; doi:10.1108/msq-09-2013-0199

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to reflect upon strategic marketing in emerging economies (EEs). It tries to answer the research question: what new business models are enabled by the Viable Systems Approach (VSA) and Service-Dominant Logic (SDL) perspectives? Design/methodology/approach – The paper is developed by integrating two well-established perspectives – VSA and SDL – and applying them to inclusive businesses. Findings – The integration of these perspectives allows the authors to recognize a convergence toward business models that seem to be consistent with the principles of inclusive capitalism. The authors claim that by shifting between a reductionist/static and a holistic/dynamic view, these perspectives can be integrated, thus revealing an interesting contribution to the understanding of inclusive business. Specifically, they contribute by highlighting how the economic and social dimensions are intertwined and by highlighting that the management-thinking perspective, which has dominated in recent decades, should shift toward a more inclusive vision. Research limitations/implications – The paper represents an attempt to address an inclusive capitalism perspective in the context of marketing. Nevertheless, the conceptual reasoning developed in the paper should be further supported by empirical research carried out in the context of EEs. Practical implications – The paper has relevant managerial implications that suggest a rethinking of the business model to market with EEs. Originality/value – The paper contributes to the research on inclusive capitalism by linking it to well-grounded conceptual approaches to business that recapture a harmonious relationship between the economy and society.
Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Volume 24, pp 612-642; doi:10.1108/msq-10-2013-0223

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to offer a fresh framing of innovation, as service innovation/value innovation. Design/methodology/approach – By examining the visions, patterns and outcomes of three different research approaches to understanding innovation – goods-dominant (G-D) logic, the resource-based approach and service-dominant (S-D) logic – the authors strive to outline the contribution of each to the debate on innovation. This investigation involves a comprehensive literature review. Scrutiny of a case company provides a means of identifying and illustrating how these approaches play out in a real business context. Findings – A framework for innovation builds on the comparison of the three research approaches. G-D logic, when analysed in terms of new product development and new service development, positions innovation as an output (a new good or service) of a business's internal processes, with the firm as the main actor. The resource-based approach establishes the drivers of innovation as knowledge, capabilities and relationships, but the firm is still the main innovator. S-D logic addresses “open” innovation processes in which all actors in the network can mobilize and integrate their resources to become value co-innovators. Research limitations/implications – This study builds on the literature review by offering a more systematic way of dealing with the different research traditions in innovation debate. Practical implications – This study spurs managers to question the validity of dominant logic and how it affects the decision-making process. The conceptualization of innovation within S-D logic provides new avenues for decision makers and practitioners to tackle topical challenges of global competition. Originality/value – The value of this paper lies in defending the premise that S-D logic is better suited than the other two research traditions to frame current innovation within the context of global competition because it moves innovation beyond mainstream conceptualization: from “products and services” to “service and value”, from “buyer-seller dyads” to “ecosystem relationships”, and from “closed/linear process” to “open/co-created process”.
, , Linda D Hollebeek
Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Volume 24, pp 592-611; doi:10.1108/msq-08-2013-0158

Purpose – Understanding the role and implications of information and communication technology (ICT) in service is the key research priority for service science and the management of service quality. The purpose of this paper is to address this priority by providing insights into the role of “engagement platforms” (EPs), physical or virtual customer touch points where actors exchange resources and co-create value. Despite an emerging body of literature that emphasizes the fit between engagement and technology-enabled service contexts, EPs remain ill-defined. Specifically, little is known about the particular types of EPs, their characteristics, and implications for the performance of service ecosystems and managing service quality. Design/methodology/approach – By drawing on two illustrative case studies, the authors investigate and theorize about the characteristics and dynamics of EPs in virtual/physical contexts, and identify if, how and to what extent configurations of EPs may enhance resource exchange within and across service ecosystems. Findings – By building on emerging research at the service/engagement interface, the paper introduces the notion of the “engagement ecosystem,” as a configuration of individual, mutually dependent EPs that represent specific interactivity-facilitative loci. The paper explicates the relevance of the model and highlight opportunities for future research in this emerging field of inquiry. Research limitations/implications – The work addresses the call for research at the intersection of ICT and service science through development and application of the engagement ecosystem concept. The theorizing process draws on two illustrative case studies, and thereby provides a theoretical contribution and foundation for future research in this emerging area. Practical implications – The authors guide managerial decision-making regarding the implementation, adoption, and utilization of engagement ecosystems. Furthermore, the nature of “engagement” as a bridging concept implies that the work can help managers to operationalize service-centric thinking. Originality/value – By showing how individual EPs form engagement ecosystems, the paper bridges theory and practice, and offers new insight in the realm of practical application of the S-D logic.
, Evert Gummesson, Hannu Kuusela
Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Volume 24, pp 545-564; doi:10.1108/msq-08-2013-0159

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to introduce a network perspective to the study of collective consumption. The authors examine the characteristics of heterogeneous consumption collectives formed around a Finnish footwear brand. The case is both theoretically and practically relevant. It differs from previous research by featuring consumer grassroot activities, face-to-face interaction and strong pre-existing social relationships. Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative case study research was conducted with different methods of data generation including interviews, participant observation and cultural materials such as newspaper articles and photos. Findings – A new concept of collective consumption network is introduced. Five kinds of consumption collectives are identified, including place focussed, brand focussed, activity focussed, idea focussed and social relations focussed consumption collectives. The strength of ties as well as the role of the brand varies within the collectives. Practical implications – Suppliers should find an appropriate network position, where they can enable and support shared value creation. Developing skills to identify and cultivate weak links as well as mobilize resources are important. Originality/value – The findings illustrate the heterogeneity and complexity of collective consumption. In particular, the paper discusses the way self-organizing and emergent consumption collectives and the supplier interact and integrate resources within the network.
, Ho Yin Wong
Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Volume 24, pp 487-521; doi:10.1108/msq-01-2014-0007

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop and test an integrated-process model/an index model by incorporating the antecedents and consequences of service quality in a higher education context. Design/methodology/approach – This research employed both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The data from three focus groups, conducted at an Australian University, generated key themes and their interrelationships. The theoretical model was then tested using the structural equation modelling (SEM) technique on a sample of 528 University students. Findings – The findings show that information (or marketing communications) and past experience are the antecedents of perceived service quality (PSQ). PSQ is a second order construct and has three dimensions: academic, administrative and facilities. The consequences of PSQ include trust, satisfaction, university-brand (UniBrand) performance and behavioural intentions. Overall, the results suggest a good validity of the model, and the nine path coefficients are found statistically significant. Originality/value – The model explains how service quality is formed, and how PSQ affects UniBrand and positive behavioural intentions overtime. This paper develops and validates three new constructs including information, past experience and UniBrand performance. In addition, it improves and validates other constructs including service quality, satisfaction, trust and behavioural intention. The paper also advances service quality literature and validates five hypothesised relationships between constructs that are relatively new in the service quality literature. Finally, this study validates a comprehensive three-tiered “integrated-process” model/an index model that includes antecedents, dimensions and consequences of service quality taking a University as a case. Universities aiming for a sustainable presence in a competitive global market and intending to enhance brand performance and attract and retain students are encouraged to consider this model and its implications.
John E.G. Bateson, , Eugene F Burke, Carly Vaughan
Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Volume 24, pp 418-433; doi:10.1108/msq-04-2014-0091

Purpose – Service employees in subordinate service roles are crucial for operational efficiency and service quality. However, the stressful nature of these roles, inappropriate hire selection, and the proliferation of job boards have created massive recruitment problems for HR departments. The purpose of this paper is to highlights the growing costs of recruiting the right candidates for service roles while offering an alternative approach to recruitment that is more efficient and effective than the traditional approach. Design/methodology/approach – The study offers empirical evidence of five instances in which the use of psychometric sifting procedures reduced recruitment costs, while improving the quality of the resultant hires. Findings – By standing the traditional recruitment process “on its head” and using psychometric tests at the start of the selection process, the recruitment process can be significantly improved. Such tests efficiently weed out unsuitable candidates before they even enter the recruitment process, leaving a smaller, better-qualified pool for possible recruitment. Practical implications – Firms can safely use the psychometric sifts to select applicants according to their operational efficiency, customer orientation, and overall performance. This paper illustrates the use of both traditional questionnaire measures and situational judgment tests to remove unsuitable applicants at the start of the selection process. A real-life case study suggests that such an approach increases the hiring success rate from 6:1 to 2:1. In the opening of a new supermarket by a UK group, this process saved 73,000 hours of managers’ time, representing $1.8 million savings in opening costs. Originality/value – The paper offers a viable cost-saving alternative to a growing problem for HR departments in service firms and provides directions for further research.
Tsu-Wei Yu, Mei-Su Chen
Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Volume 24, pp 455-468; doi:10.1108/msq-09-2013-0181

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influential factors of the antecedents of relationship quality (RQ), RQ, and long-term relationship orientation between the members that constitute the insurance marketing channel. Design/methodology/approach – This study uses in-depth interviews as well as a survey to examine long-term relationship orientation between life insurers and insurance intermediaries in Taiwan. Findings – Results indicate that antecedents of RQ (customer orientation, expertise, similarity, and contact intensity) have a positive effect on RQ. Relationship qualities (trust, satisfaction, and commitment) have a positive effect on the long-term relationship orientation. The antecedents of RQ have a positive effect on the interaction of long-term relationship orientation through mediating effects of RQ. Originality/value – It fills a gap in the literature by explores the long-term cooperative relationship between life insurers and insurance intermediaries based on the RQ perspective. Further, previous studies have focused on the automobile, food, electronic information, textile, and financial industries. Few studies have looked at insurance marketing outsourcing from a RQ perspective. Thus, this study will be useful to decision makers in the insurance industry seeking to improve their supplier-distributor relationships.
, , Ulrika Sjödin
Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Volume 24, pp 434-454; doi:10.1108/msq-02-2014-0032

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to shed light upon how retailers view alternative payment forms and to what extent they are willing to risk offending their customers by imposing payment restrictions. Design/methodology/approach – This exploratory study consists of three consecutive parts: first, 100 situations of paying for goods or services; second, interviews with 25 of these 100 retailers; and third, observations at a meeting between retailers and bank representatives on various aspects of card and cash payments. Findings – Retailers are unwilling to risk offending their customers and do not normally undertake any actions to affect the customers’ choice of payment form, except for proactively or reactively excluding the use of certain expensive credit cards, and card payments for small amounts. The retailers only take the risk of causing customer dissatisfaction when they feel that the sacrifice for not doing so is too costly, and in these cases the salespersons act very late in the purchase process. Other aspects than payment costs (such as safety, time and environment) seem to have little impact on individual retailers’ actions at the payment stage. Research limitations/implications – The present study focuses solely on the retailers’ point of view on the payment stage, implying a need for additional research on customers’ and bank representatives’ views on the same matter. Practical implications – Retailers try to nurture their customer relationships also when they are proactive or reactive, i.e. by pointing to the high cost of a particular payment form and/or asking customers to help with small change. Sending signals that invite customers to assist may not only be a way to affect how customers pay, but also foster relationship development. Social implications – It seems that environmental costs have not filtered down to the firm level, at least not in an observable way. Any further move towards a “cashless society” has to emanate from other sources. Originality/value – No previous study has focused on the way selling companies approach their customers at the payment stage in terms of proactive, reactive and inactive behaviour.
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