Client perceived value in quality consultancy relationships
This thesis makes a generalisable contribution to the development of a dynamic relationship approach to the theory and practice of quality management in professional services. A value generation system and practitioner tools are proposed as a result of a synthesis of literature from multiple disciplines, grounded in empirical research. The methodology involves an analysis of detailed case studies carried out by the author when acting as a consultant researcher. This is supported by the findings of a skills questionnaire sent to client contacts who had experienced ISO 9000 consultancy, together with a key incident survey of satisfying and dissatisfying incidents. Customer service research provides an analysis of customer perceived value within a service exchange (Zeithaml et al, 1990; Ghobadian et al, 1994; Patterson et al, 1997; Groth and Dye, 1999). Relationship marketing literature provides an analysis of customer perceived value in a relationship between two organisations (Halinen, 1997; Hakansson, 1995; Storbacka et al, 1994; Payne, 1995; Juttner et al, 1994, Ford et al, 1998). A relationship process structure identified in counselling literature is shown to be complementary to consultancy at the episode level. Comparable higher relationship levels relating to the assignment process and account development processes are identified within consultancy and relationship marketing literature respectively and integrated within the proposed system. A critique of the registration approach to quality management systems (ISO 9000: 1994 and its successor ISO 9000: 2000) is included as a necessary factor in forming an opinion about the generalisability of the research findings.