Measuring internal service quality: comparing the gap-based and perceptions-only approaches

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Abstract

Purpose - This paper aims to build upon the debate in the service quality literature regarding both the theoretical and practical effectiveness of expectations data in the measurement of internal service quality (ISQ). Gap-based and perceptions-only approaches to measuring ISQ are tested and their respective benefits and limitations evaluated.

Design/methodology/approach - The internal service context used in this study is the provision of e-procurement software, training, and user support in four organisations. The two approaches are evaluated in terms of reliability and validity, as well as pragmatic aspects of survey administration.

Findings - The various tests carried out indicate that both the gap-measure and perceptions-only measure are reliable and valid, the latter being the marginally higher performer. Both approaches were found to have benefits and limitations, and so the empirical study, combined with contributions from the literature, generates some understanding of the internal service context in which the two approaches might be appropriate.

Research limitations/implications - The survey was based on an internal e-procurement service; as such, the variables and dimensions selected to measure ISQ in this context inevitably limit the scope of the research. Practical implications For operations managers, the paper clarifies the basis on which they might choose between the two approaches to ISQ measurement. Originality/value - This study is the first to directly test and compare the relative merits of these two approaches to ISQ measurement. The paper also offers insights as to the operational contexts in which each approach might be appropriate.

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Managers
Internal service quality
E-procurement
Quality measurement
Service quality
Empirical study
Software
Design methodology

Cite this

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title = "Measuring internal service quality: comparing the gap-based and perceptions-only approaches",
abstract = "Purpose - This paper aims to build upon the debate in the service quality literature regarding both the theoretical and practical effectiveness of expectations data in the measurement of internal service quality (ISQ). Gap-based and perceptions-only approaches to measuring ISQ are tested and their respective benefits and limitations evaluated. Design/methodology/approach - The internal service context used in this study is the provision of e-procurement software, training, and user support in four organisations. The two approaches are evaluated in terms of reliability and validity, as well as pragmatic aspects of survey administration. Findings - The various tests carried out indicate that both the gap-measure and perceptions-only measure are reliable and valid, the latter being the marginally higher performer. Both approaches were found to have benefits and limitations, and so the empirical study, combined with contributions from the literature, generates some understanding of the internal service context in which the two approaches might be appropriate. Research limitations/implications - The survey was based on an internal e-procurement service; as such, the variables and dimensions selected to measure ISQ in this context inevitably limit the scope of the research. Practical implications For operations managers, the paper clarifies the basis on which they might choose between the two approaches to ISQ measurement. Originality/value - This study is the first to directly test and compare the relative merits of these two approaches to ISQ measurement. The paper also offers insights as to the operational contexts in which each approach might be appropriate.",
author = "Alistair Brandon-Jones and R Silvestro",
year = "2010",
doi = "10.1108/01443571011094271",
language = "English",
volume = "30",
pages = "1291--1318",
journal = "International Journal of Operations & Production Management",
issn = "0144-3577",
publisher = "Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.",
number = "12",

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AU - Silvestro, R

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AB - Purpose - This paper aims to build upon the debate in the service quality literature regarding both the theoretical and practical effectiveness of expectations data in the measurement of internal service quality (ISQ). Gap-based and perceptions-only approaches to measuring ISQ are tested and their respective benefits and limitations evaluated. Design/methodology/approach - The internal service context used in this study is the provision of e-procurement software, training, and user support in four organisations. The two approaches are evaluated in terms of reliability and validity, as well as pragmatic aspects of survey administration. Findings - The various tests carried out indicate that both the gap-measure and perceptions-only measure are reliable and valid, the latter being the marginally higher performer. Both approaches were found to have benefits and limitations, and so the empirical study, combined with contributions from the literature, generates some understanding of the internal service context in which the two approaches might be appropriate. Research limitations/implications - The survey was based on an internal e-procurement service; as such, the variables and dimensions selected to measure ISQ in this context inevitably limit the scope of the research. Practical implications For operations managers, the paper clarifies the basis on which they might choose between the two approaches to ISQ measurement. Originality/value - This study is the first to directly test and compare the relative merits of these two approaches to ISQ measurement. The paper also offers insights as to the operational contexts in which each approach might be appropriate.

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