An IMP interaction approach to modelling business-to-business professional service quality: the case of Hong Kong consulting engineering service

Woo, Ka-shing (2001) An IMP interaction approach to modelling business-to-business professional service quality: the case of Hong Kong consulting engineering service. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

In the domain of services marketing, the most researched area is in service quality. Since the pioneering stage of service quality research in the early 1980s, most of the studies have been conducted in the context of consumer services and consumer professional services. The purpose of this study is to bridge the gap in the existing literature to measure service quality of a particular business-to-business professional service industry (i.e., Hong Kong consulting engineering industry).

In this study, three objectives are to be achieved. The first is to compare the relative superiority between two service quality measurement approaches: gap-based (perception-minus-expectation) approach and perception-only approach. The second is to confirm the direction of relationship between service quality and service satisfaction. The last is to assess the feasibility of synthesising the BU (International/Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group) interaction model with the existing service quality models in conceptualising business-to-business professional service quality. The hybrid service quality model consists of: (1) transactional quality which is formed through various resource exchanges, (2) relational quality which is established by cooperation and commitment to adaptation, (3) overall atmosphere surrounding the transacting parties, (4) service quality, (5) service satisfaction, and (6) behavioural intention.

Having synthesised the results of literature review (i. e., service quality, professional service quality, MP works, relationship quality) and exploratory interviews with the industry participants, seven hypotheses are proposed and tested in the context of Hong Kong consulting engineering service. H1 predicts that there is a positive relationship between transactional quality and service quality. H2 predicts that the impact of transactional quality on service quality is mediated by the overall atmosphere. Similar to H1 and H2, H3 predicts a positive relationship between relational quality and service quality whilst H4 predicts that the impact of relational quality on service quality is mediated by the overall atmosphere. H5 predicts that there is a positive relationship between transactional quality and relational quality. H6 concerns (a) a positive relationship between service quality and service satisfaction and (b) a positive relationship between service quality and behavioural intention. The last hypothesis predicts a positive relationship between service satisfaction and behavioural intention.

Based on the results of structural equation modelling on survey data, the gap-based measurement approach is found to outperform the perception-only measurement approach in terms of relative model fits. The applicability of the gap-based measurement approach is considered to be context specific whether it is for organisation-based or consumer-based service. A high degree of unexplained variance in the construct of atmosphere suggests that additional factors which may influence overall atmosphere have not been accounted for in the model. For example, macro-environmental factors suggested in the IMP interaction model may influence or moderate the overall working relationship.

In relation to the afore-mentioned hypotheses, four of them are supported, including H4, H5, H6a and 6b, and H7. Directions for future studies are then discussed, including (a) to generalise the findings to the other business-to-business professional service industries, (b) to explore other dimensions of relational quality; (c) to investigate the temporal impact on model variables, (d) to explore other gap-based measurement -approaches (e. g., direct measurement using "worse/better than expected" wording), and (e) to synthesise business-to-business professional service quality model with the concept of buying centre under different buying situations.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Ennew, C.T.
Wright, D.M.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Customer services, consulting engineers, Hong Kong
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
ID Code:1297
Deposited By:Ms Valerie Airey
Deposited On:25 May 2010 11:09
Last Modified:25 May 2010 11:09

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