The link between service quality, corporate reputation and customer responses

  • Jeong Kim

Student thesis: Phd


The academic study of corporate reputation is still relatively new. At issue is how best to measure this important construct. This thesis argues that there are two, apparently competing, approaches and aims to shed light on both their inter-relationship and their relative efficacy in explaining the influence of reputation on the customer. The work also considers whether service quality, representing the experience the customer has of the firm, is more or less linked to either aspect of reputation.The first approach, based on reputation as cognition and drawing on role expectation theory, is exemplified by the Reputation Quotient (RQ). The second based upon reputation as affect and based upon prior work in brand personality is exemplified by the Corporate Character Scale (CCS). The study considers five variables and their inter-relationships, service quality, role-based reputation, character-based reputation, customer satisfaction and customer commitment. A number of hypotheses are proposed from the literature to predict such relationships. These are combined into a single model which is tested using Structural Equation Modelling and data from a survey of 642 customers of four retailers. The validity of the proposed model and of specific hypotheses was further examined by testing alternative models. The results show that: the two aspects of corporate reputation are both influenced by service quality, (rather than vice versa); that while there is some evidence to support the idea of a causal route from cognitive aspects of reputation and to the affective (rather than vice versa) that in reality the relationship might best be thought of as bidirectional i.e. as a co-variance. However, the affective aspect of corporate reputation appears more critical and therefore useful in determining satisfaction and commitment. Finally the causal ordering of reputation to satisfaction and commitment are supported, rather than vice versa.This study contributes to our understanding of the links between corporate reputation, service quality, customer satisfaction and commitment in a service setting. By doing so it also contributes to the practical management of corporate reputation by confirming the importance of the affective aspect of corporate reputation and of service quality in its creation.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRosa Chun (Supervisor)

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