The eagerness of global marketers to establish a competitive advantage based upon service quality excellence within emerging markets displays a degree of naïveté in respect to the influence of environmental factors upon consumption behaviour. An example of this is the global application of Parasuraman, Zeithamal and Berry’s conceptualisation of service quality (SERVQUAL) in 1988 without consideration of the possible influence of the variety of cultures found in international markets. This paper takes a cautionary stance to such global application, and proposes that cultural values endow consumers with rules that guide their evaluation of service quality. Field research was conducted within Taiwan to ascertain whether the dominant service quality model holds in this “foreign” environment. The results indicate that not only do cultural values influence the hierarchy of service quality dimensions, but also that Parasuraman et al.’ s SERVQUAL conceptual model does not capture the breadth of criteria utilised by Taiwanese consumers. Interpersonal relations are highlighted as a dimension of service quality that is not adequately addressed by SERVQUAL.
Managing Service Quality – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 2002
Keywords: Service quality; Culture; Values; China; Global marketing
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