Measuring internal service quality: Comparing the gap-based and perceptions-only approaches

Alistair Brandon-Jones, Rhian Silvestro

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    Purpose: This paper aims to build upon the debate in the service quality literature regarding both the theoretical and practical effectiveness of expectations data in the measurement of internal service quality (ISQ). Gap-based and perceptions-only approaches to measuring ISQ are tested and their respective benefits and limitations evaluated. Design/methodology/approach: The internal service context used in this study is the provision of e-procurement software, training, and user support in four organisations. The two approaches are evaluated in terms of reliability and validity, as well as pragmatic aspects of survey administration. Findings: The various tests carried out indicate that both the gap-measure and perceptions-only measure are reliable and valid, the latter being the marginally higher performer. Both approaches were found to have benefits and limitations, and so the empirical study, combined with contributions from the literature, generates some understanding of the internal service context in which the two approaches might be appropriate. Research limitations/implications: The survey was based on an internal e-procurement service; as such, the variables and dimensions selected to measure ISQ in this context inevitably limit the scope of the research. Practical implications: For operations managers, the paper clarifies the basis on which they might choose between the two approaches to ISQ measurement. Originality/value: This study is the first to directly test and compare the relative merits of these two approaches to ISQ measurement. The paper also offers insights as to the operational contexts in which each approach might be appropriate. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1291-1318
    Number of pages27
    JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


    • Customer services quality
    • Procurement
    • Quality assessment
    • Service quality assurance


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