Key readings

Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Article publication date: 1 September 2004



(2004), "Key readings", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 8 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Key readings

Key readings

The impact of powerful and weak customers on quality assurance systems and quality improvement programmesGroocock, J., The TQM Magazine (UK), 2000, Vol. 12 No. 6, Start page: 372, No. of pages: 17

Gives personal observations regarding customer influence on suppliers' quality control/assurance systems. Draws form a career in quality management ending with two senior corporate quality positions in multinational firms (ITT and TRW). Differentiates between powerful customers who can exercise control by insisting on a certain quality standard/assurance, e.g. a defense organization, and weak customers, whose only recourse is to change suppliers. Specifies consumers as a subclass of the former who have a monopolistic supplier. Expands on their individual characteristics. Discusses ways a powerful customer can specify what it requires and ensure the supplier conforms. Remarks on quality assurance systems and standards, and expounds on quality improvement programs to achieve better product perception by customers. Discourses on quality costs, outlining such programs at ITT and TRW. Concludes with related commentary on:

  • top management;

  • ISO 9000;

  • comparisons of quality control and quality assurance; and

  • quality supervision by regulators of the UK's National Health Service, Benefits Agency, schools, and industry.

From intangibility to tangibility on service quality perceptions: a comparison study between consumers and service providers in four service industriesSantos, J., Managing Service Quality (UK), 2002, Vol. 12 No. 5, Start page: 292, No. of pages: 11

Delves into the literature on the differences between tangibility and intangibility in the context of services and develops several hypotheses relating to the importance of tangible components of a service to perceptions of service quality; describes a research study to test these involving two stages, the first a telephone survey of consumers' perceptions, the second a survey of those of service providers in universities and airlines (essentially intangible services), motor insurance (adding value to a tangible product) and restaurants (services providing a tangible product). Reveals that the consumers and the providers did not always share the same perceptions of whether the tangible dimensions are important in achievement of service quality, and proposes a theoretical model based on the findings; muses on the implications for service managers who should no longer assume that tangible aspects can be ignored.

The relationship between management's perception of total quality service and customer perceptions of service qualitySureshchandar, G.S., Rajendran, C. and Anantharaman, R.N., Total Quality Management (UK), January 2002, Vol. 13 No. 1, Start page: 69, No. of pages: 20

Overviews literature studies into relationships between total quality management (TQM) and business performance but notes comparatively little regarding total quality service (TQS) impact on customer-perceived quality. Establishes 12 dimensions to TQS and appends a questionnaire comprising 126 items used to validate these dimensions via management's perception of TQS. Lists five factors critical to customer perceptions of service quality (Sureshchandar et al., 2001) – core service/service product, human element of service delivery, systematization of service delivery, service tangibles, social responsibility – and appends a survey instrument for these. Analyses questionnaires' results from 43 Indian banks. Tables and discusses regression analyses outcomes regarding the customer core factors and the TQS dimensions. Finds that only people-oriented TQS elements are regarded as important. Concludes with thoughts as to why this is, and areas for future research.

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