Servicescape And Customer Satisfaction: The Role Of Strategy
Collett, Patti Lynn
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The purpose of this research is to determine if the corporate strategy theory base may be useful in advancing the understanding of service characteristics; specifically, the relationship between particular service industries, competitive strategy and a firm's choice of servicescape dimensions. The design and methodology of this research combines two distinct literature streams with respect to service operations: competitive strategy and operations strategy. First, the operations strategy literature and its evolution into service operations are reviewed to provide a historical foundation for the research and to identify possible research gaps. Next, the strategy literature is reviewed as a possible remedy to these gaps. Combining these views suggests that, in contrast to traditional views that argue for a common positive influence from increased service for all firms, the relative influence of service characteristics is dependent on the competitive approach taken by a firm.The hypotheses generated from this alternative view are tested on a sample of eleven firms drawn from three service industries utilizing perceptions of service characteristics and satisfaction collected from over 1200 customers. The results are generally supportive of the hypotheses, indicating that the impact from higher levels of service characteristics is different depending on the competitive approach taken by a firm.This research adds to the body of knowledge through its integration of two distinct literature streams. The theory and associated empirical findings suggest the importance of considering a firm's strategy - how it chooses to compete -- rather than just a simple characterization of the service industry when trying to determine the value of different levels of service characteristic. Academics interested in advancing the growing body of service industry research will gain insight through the strategy synthesis, while practitioners are given tentative guidance about how to focus servicescape dimensions on their particular competitive situations.