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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1997

Jim Grieves and Brian P. Mathews

Argues that because service organizations are faced with greater uncertainty and ambiguity than manufacturing organizations they require a focus on learning in order to…

Abstract

Argues that because service organizations are faced with greater uncertainty and ambiguity than manufacturing organizations they require a focus on learning in order to control the vagaries of the marketplace, on the one hand, and the uncertainty of the service encounter, on the other. Posits that, consequently, we use the concept of learning service to suggest that when learning is planned at two levels ‐ the service encounter and market research ‐ skills are assimilated and knowledge is generated by an increased awareness of tacit and formal knowledge. States that when this is performed by self‐managed multi‐disciplinary work teams then effective normative standards can be constructed. Demonstrates the concept of a learning service to show how such a service can provide opportunities for organizational development. Begins by examining the distinctive characteristics of service organizations and identifies how these might affect and facilitate organizational learning. Attempts to demonstrate this with an in‐depth case study in a healthcare setting. Discusses how healthcare in the UK is often presented in the context of a learning organization because the introduction of an internal market (The 1990 NHS and Community Care Act) created the separation of responsibility for healthcare provision from its purchase. Implies that “organizational learning” has come to show that organizations, like organisms, adapt to a changing environment. By going beyond the limitations of this biological metaphor attempts to provide a model of a learning service which is characterized by human agency.

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The Learning Organization, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2001

Brian P. Mathews, Akiko Ueno, Zulema Lopez Periera, Graca Silva, Tauno Kekal and Mikko Repka

Quality management is an essential part of an organisation’s competitive strategy. The training that underpins quality management determines the likely effectiveness of…

Abstract

Quality management is an essential part of an organisation’s competitive strategy. The training that underpins quality management determines the likely effectiveness of the quality initiatives undertaken. This article details the findings of a questionnaire survey into the training provided to support quality management. A total of 450 responses are analysed. Findings from the UK, Portugal and Finland are compared to identify differences in national practice. Training provision is definitely focused at quality staff, but even with this group training in many of the traditional quality tools is denied to one third. The area in which training is given consistently concerns awareness, systems and standards. This confirms that much of the emphasis within the sample base is on working to a quality system rather than necessarily embracing the message of quality. Training methods tend to be traditional, with little impact evident of the hi‐tech revolution. Nevertheless, there is a spread of approaches considered effective with no single approach dominating the field. While external short courses rank top in all areas, the incidence is never in excess of one‐third.

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The TQM Magazine, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-478X

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2000

Chris Houldsworth and Brian P. Mathews

Group working methods, and more particularly assessed group work, have, over the past ten years or so, become integral components of many undergraduate, postgraduate and…

Abstract

Group working methods, and more particularly assessed group work, have, over the past ten years or so, become integral components of many undergraduate, postgraduate and Higher National Diploma (HND) programmes. This study looks at year one results of two intakes of UK students who, as part of their HND course, undertook a large proportion of their assessment by group work. An “action” research approach combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies is used to gain a deeper insight into academic work patterns and social behaviours in the context of a tutorial group, covering norm setting, the group process, and how these may influence performance in assessments. The findings of this study suggest that group performance is influenced by the degree of heterogeneity in composition, with diverse groups performing more consistently. Within most groups certain elements of process loss are apparent, particularly the “sucker effect”, as well as aspects of process gain. Often both appear to be present and tend to balance each other out.

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Education + Training, vol. 42 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1993

A. Diamantopoulos and Brian P. Mathews

Examines executives′ perceptions of the demand curve in the contextof a multiproduct firm. Cluster analysis is used to develop anempirically‐based demand curve typology…

Abstract

Examines executives′ perceptions of the demand curve in the context of a multiproduct firm. Cluster analysis is used to develop an empirically‐based demand curve typology and relate it to various descriptors of the market environment. Examines the theoretical and managerial implications of the derived typology and identifies future research avenues.

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European Journal of Marketing, vol. 27 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1996

Brian P. Mathews and Tom Redman

Observes that the use of personal characteristics in job advertisements is discouraged within the prescriptive literature. Examines the extent to which advertisers for…

Abstract

Observes that the use of personal characteristics in job advertisements is discouraged within the prescriptive literature. Examines the extent to which advertisers for personnel specialists apply them in practice, and the range of characteristics put to use. Findings show that 80 per cent of advertisements contain reference to at least one personal characteristic. Concludes that social skills, particularly communication, appear to be the most important characteristic of personnel specialists, but there is, nevertheless, variation between differing job areas. Concludes that, although advertisers seem to follow stereotypes when putting together advertisements, they do not make particularly good use of personal characteristics.

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Employee Relations, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1997

Cathy Johnson and Brian P. Mathews

States that expectations play an important part in service quality. Currently, the most widely adopted view of service quality results from customers’ expectations being…

Abstract

States that expectations play an important part in service quality. Currently, the most widely adopted view of service quality results from customers’ expectations being met or exceeded. Surprisingly there is no clear consensus of what expectations actually are or what they do. There is only one widely applied way to measure them (SERVQUAL), an approach that is also widely criticized. Although the possible effect of many “controllable” factors on expectations has been alluded to, the effect of “uncontrollable” factors has not been thoroughly researched. Starts to redress the balance by defining expectations as a mixture of shoulds and wills; a cognitive melting‐pot of what should, ideally, happen and what will realistically happen the next time the service is visited. Uses a reliable measuring instrument to measure these two different expectations and the effect of consumers’ experience of the service on them. The results of the study demonstrate that experience of the service has a clear influence on expectations, at least within the context of the fast‐food industry.

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International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2000

Andrew D. Pressey and Brian P. Mathews

This study focuses on the potential difficulties in implementing a relationship marketing strategy within a retail context. We suggest that a number of attributes…

Abstract

This study focuses on the potential difficulties in implementing a relationship marketing strategy within a retail context. We suggest that a number of attributes characterise the nature of the service and market structure are influential in an organisation’s ability to implement relationship marketing. Specifically, these are balance of power; level of involvement with the purchase; professionalism of the service provider; and level of personal contact. Seven dimensions central to relationship marketing in a retail context are derived from the literature. Via survey research, these are evaluated in four service contexts, namely: hairdresser/barber; optician; recreation centre; and supermarket. Findings indicate that because of the influence of the four factors identified above, hairdressers, opticians, and recreation centres are more likely to operate in conditions that give greater support to the development of relationship marketing.

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Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1986

Brian P. Mathews and Ann W. Watt

Since convenience is one of the most crucial items in the decision to choose a particular bank, the smallest market share by the British National Girobank (BNG) seems…

Abstract

Since convenience is one of the most crucial items in the decision to choose a particular bank, the smallest market share by the British National Girobank (BNG) seems something of an anomaly. A questionnaire survey administered by students using a quota sample showed that general awareness of Girobank is high but detailed awareness of services offered is much lower. Clearly the current promotional strategy used is not effective. Many people would like to see a bank manager provided by BNG but this is unlikely to be introduced. More customers may be gained through the “Link” autoteller. The BNG is seen as a credible financial institution. The results show that two previous criteria, location and personal recommendation, are at variance with recent surveys.

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International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 4 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1998

Tom Redman and Brian P. Mathews

Service organisations are striving to increase the quality of the services they offer. They are also using a wide variety of people management techniques. These two…

Abstract

Service organisations are striving to increase the quality of the services they offer. They are also using a wide variety of people management techniques. These two activities can sometimes come into conflict. This article examines a variety of management practices, particularly from human resource management (HRM), used by the service sector, and assesses their potential impact on service quality and total quality management (TQM). Many techniques are identified as being potentially supportive of quality improvement but some pose threats, particularly those most closely associated with cost minimisation and the less subtle forms of managerial control. In order to encourage research in this area a number of research propositions and an agenda for further research are developed.

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Personnel Review, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1995

Tom Redman and Brian P. Mathews

Examines the changing employment market in personnel by comparingrecruitment advertisements with their counterparts of ten years ago.Variations over time reflect changes…

Abstract

Examines the changing employment market in personnel by comparing recruitment advertisements with their counterparts of ten years ago. Variations over time reflect changes in the values of employers and changes in the nature of employment. Finds that the public sector is now more prominent in recruitment, HRM is developing as a specific function, experience requirements are becoming more specific and the Institute of Personnel Management (IPM) qualifications are more in demand. Overall effectiveness of job advertisements has also improved slightly, but there appears to be ample scope for further development.

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