An investigation into the nature, determinants, and dynamics of service quality expectations
On the basis of a review of the substantive quality and service marketing literature current knowledge regarding service quality expectations was found either absent or deficient. The phenomenon is of increasing importance to both marketing researchers and management and was therefore judged worthy of scholarly consideration. Because the service quality literature was insufficiently rich when embarking on the thesis three basic research issues were considered namely the nature, determinants, and dynamics of service quality expectations. These issues were first conceptually and then qualitatively explored. This process generated research hypotheses mainly relating to a model which were subsequently tested through a series of empirical investigations using questionnaire data from field studies in a single context. The results were internally consistent and strongly supported the main research hypotheses. It was found that service quality expectations can be meaningfully described in terms of generic/service-specific, intangible/tangible, and process/outcome categories. Service-specific quality expectations were also shown to be determined by generic service quality expectations, demographic variables, personal values, psychological needs, general service sophistication, service-specific sophistication, purchase motives, and service-specific information when treating service class involvement as an exogenous variable. Subjects who had previously not directly experienced a particular service were additionally found to revise their expectations of quality when exposed to the service with change being driven by a sub-set of identified determinants.