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Enhancing the assessment of tangible service quality through the creation of a cleanliness measurement scale

Nelson Barber (University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA)
Joseph M. Scarcelli (Niagara University, Lewiston, New York, USA)

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal

ISSN: 0960-4529

Article publication date: 26 January 2010




The purpose of this paper is two‐fold: to enhance the tangible quality construct by considering cleanliness as a customer service quality dimension; and to assess customers' opinions on cleanliness by gender and education.


The population under study is the general adult population of a Southwestern US city. The subjects voluntarily participate through a link to an anonymous online survey provided on a university's daily electronic news medium. Reliability and factor analyses are used to determine if the 32 criteria will in fact become an effective analysis measurement scale for cleanliness and multivariate analysis is used for the segmentation.


The results indicate that customers have made decisions to select, stay or return to an establishment based upon cleanliness. The results are meaningful because they suggest a scale that is reliable and valid and can be used to measure customer perceptions of cleanliness in a service organization. The results also confirm that education and gender are significant factors in assessing perceptions of cleanliness.

Research limitations/implications

The sampling method is a limitation to this study, as the sample represents a limited cross‐section of the US population.

Practical implications

The results of this paper provide service establishments that consider loyalty and repeat business key to their financial success, indicators that cleanliness is a critical component of the overall physical environment and influence customers' assessment of the service experience.


This paper examines the dimension of cleanliness in detail through the creation of a measurement scale and considers customers' perceptions and willingness to return.



Barber, N. and Scarcelli, J.M. (2010), "Enhancing the assessment of tangible service quality through the creation of a cleanliness measurement scale", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 70-88.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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