اندازه گیری کیفیت خدمات حرفه ای تجارت بنگاه به بنگاه و نتایج آن
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23622||2005||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 58, Issue 9, September 2005, Pages 1178–1185
Previous studies of service quality have typically been based on the theoretical frameworks associated with the Nordic and the American schools of thought. However, research in both traditions tends to examine service quality issues from a consumer service perspective, with little or no reference to business-to-business services. This study synthesizes the two schools with a European framework for understanding business-to-business marketing, known as the International/Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group (IMP) perspective. As a result, business-to-business professional service quality is represented by six types of interaction. Empirical data from professional service firms in Hong Kong support this six-dimensional model. Our study contributes to the growing service quality research literature by offering an approach to measurement that comprehensively taps the exchange and interaction dimensions of business-to-business professional service quality. The paper concludes by identifying managerial uses of the approach as well as directions for future research.
Since its development in the early 1980s, service quality research has been dominated by studies conducted in the context of consumer services (e.g., Brady and Cronin, 2001 and Parasuraman et al., 1988). Only a limited number of studies have addressed business-to-business services (e.g., Bienstock et al., 1997), and even fewer have considered business-to-business professional services (Ullrich, 2002). In the existing body of research, the dimensions on which service quality is measured are typically derived from the SERVQUAL scale or one of its variants. Although it has been extensively used, many authors (e.g., Carman, 1990) have suggested that SERVQUAL's five dimensions (i.e., assurance, reliability, responsiveness, tangibility, and empathy) may be so generic as to limit its utility in certain service contexts. Of particular significance is the extent to which a scale that has been developed and applied primarily in a business-to-consumer context can be transferred to a business-to-business context (Parasuraman, 1998). This problem may be particularly acute in the case of a business-to-business professional service, which is advisory in nature and involves a high degree of interaction between representatives of transacting parties (Gummesson, 1978). At issue, as Parasuraman (1998) notes, is specification of the dimensions that business customers use to evaluate service quality. The ‘Nordic School’ of services research (Grönroos, 1984) emphasizes the interactive nature of services and suggests that service quality should be conceptualized around both process/functional dimensions (how the service is delivered) and outcome/technical dimensions (what is delivered). The functional–technical dichotomy is also in evidence within the North American school of research on service quality and most specifically in the conceptualization of service quality by Parasuraman et al. (1985). The subsequent development of SERVQUAL as a measurement scale showed particular strength in the representation of functional quality. However, both Mangold and Babakus (1991) and Richard and Allaway (1993) have suggested that it neglects technical quality. Others would suggest that although SERVQUAL does accommodate technical quality, its measurement is split between the reliability and assurance dimensions and thus difficult to identify (Buttle, 1996). In order to address the issue of how best to conceptualize the dimensions of service quality in a business-to-business professional service context, we propose to reexamine the interactions and relationships on which perceptions of service quality are based. For this purpose, we adopt the International/Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group (IMP) interaction model (e.g., Ford, 1997 and Håkansson and Snehota, 2000). This model identifies four dimensions of exchange (i.e., product/service exchange, financial exchange, information exchange, and social exchange) in a relationship and two longer term aspects of that relationship (i.e., institutionalization/cooperation and adaptation). The use of the IMP model to investigate business-to-business professional service quality in the current study is justified on two grounds. First, the model was derived from extensive empirical work across a range of industry sectors, drawing on case studies for theory building (Håkansson and Snehota, 2000). This empirical work was subsequently developed into a clearly articulated body of theory, which has then been applied across a variety of contexts (e.g., Ford, 1997 and Metcalf et al., 1992). The main thrust of the IMP research is on buyer–seller interaction with the relationship as the unit of analysis. It is proposed that the four dimensions of exchange and the two longer term aspects of the relationship (six interaction dimensions in total) mentioned earlier should represent robust indicators of perceived service quality. Second, in addition to a well-grounded theoretical framework, the IMP work has relevance across a range of sectors. Although the original research was related to industrial markets and the buying and selling of manufactured products, its application had been extended to the study of consumer services (e.g., banking services by Proença and Castro, 1998) and business-to-business professional services (e.g., Halinen, 1997). The paper begins by exploring the features of the IMP framework in more detail and explaining the links between the six interaction dimensions and more established perspectives on service quality. The next section discusses the research design used to substantiate this approach to the conceptualization of business-to-business professional service quality. The subsequent section contains the results of the empirical analysis and the paper concludes with a discussion of implications and directions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study attempts to conceptualize the dimensions of service quality in a business-to-business professional service setting from an IMP interaction perspective. This extends the domain of service quality research beyond the context of consumer services and consumer professional services. We argue that SERVQUAL is inappropriate for the measurement of professional service quality because it fails to recognize the importance of professionalism as a technical dimension. Equally, we note limitations with the Nordic School and the dimensions proposed by Grönroos, 1984 and Grönroos, 1990. The IMP perspective provides a rigorous conceptualization of the nature of interactions within a business-to-business context and these provide a foundation from which dimensions of customer evaluation can be identified. Our research shows that the six interaction dimensions (i.e., product/service exchange, financial exchange, information exchange, social exchange, cooperation, and adaptation) seem to capture the essence of business-to-business professional service quality. Like many service quality studies, this study also raises new questions for further research. First, the conceptualization was tested in the context of consulting engineering services and replications in other professional services would be desirable to assess generalizability. In addition, since this conceptualization is derived from the broader business-to-business context, it would benefit from testing in contexts outside of professional services. Finally, as the current study has only considered service quality in a static context, further research that explores the dynamics of service quality over the relationship life cycle could provide useful insights into the management of quality in business-to-business relationships. As well as contributing to the service quality literature, this new conceptualization also offers potential benefits to professional service providers in terms of how to define the concept of service quality from a business-to-business perspective and how to manage clients' perceived service quality. First, in this study, social exchange and cooperation were found to be relatively more important than financial exchange, product/service exchange, information exchange, and adaptation. This highlights the fact that when transactional exchange (e.g., what is provided or product/service exchange) becomes more and more homogenous among competitive offerings, it is the relational exchange (e.g., how the service is provided or social exchange) that creates competitive edge. Therefore, professional service providers may need to increase their focus on more cooperative behaviors and the management of social and information exchange with their clients. Second, a further extension of the six-factor model is to segment business customers into groups based on their perceived quality ratings on different interaction dimensions, organizational characteristics, and age of relationship with clients. Within a customer population, customer segments will have different configurations of exchange preference. For example, some customers may be more transaction-based placing their emphasis on product/service exchange, information exchange, and financial exchange, whereas others may be more relationship-based with the emphasis placed on social exchange, cooperation, and adaptation. Appropriate marketing management approaches would be needed to align service offers with customers' diverse exchange preferences. In conclusion, this study utilizes an IMP perspective on business-to-business relationships to develop a conceptualization of business-to-business professional service quality. The six dimensions of interaction underlying the IMP works are proposed as dimensions of business-to-business professional service quality. Support for this six-dimensional model is obtained from an analysis of professional service firms in Hong Kong. These findings enhance the growing service quality research literature by offering an approach that explicitly recognizes and measures both the exchange and interaction dimensions of business-to-business professional service quality.