Application of classification models in studying productivity management in services
This is a report of research on the application of service classifications in studying productivity management aspects and issues in the service industries. After identifying certain gaps in the literature, a new empirical approach has been introduced. Through a review of literature, the complexity of research on service productivity and its relationship with quality was observed and confirmed. It was found that productivity management is an appropriate context for studying and illustrating the new approach to service classification. Twelve service sectors were selected to cover the range of different types of service clusters. The research methodology was heavily built on an inductive approach based on in-depth interviews, although a significant part of the research was carried out using quantitative analysis. Quantitative analysis was done to find the most appropriate service dimensions that could be used as bases for service classifications for productivity management studies. Among the studied service dimensions, as proposed by the literature, it was found that the dimension of Front/back value added, initially proposed by David Maister, was the most appropriate one to be used as the basis for service classification schemes for productivity management purposes. Through qualitative analysis of data a number of key factors in terms of service productivity management and their features were found. A service classification scheme was proposed, with no regard to service dimensions. The features of 'productivity friendly' services were studied. The factors that can reduce the need for trade off between productivity and quality were explored. The contribution of this research can be summarised in two areas. A new approach to service classification has been proposed, that is derived from empirical study. A number of services are compared in terms of productivity management aspects, resulting in development of a number of models, to illustrate the general trend of services in the area of productivity management, including interactions with quality management.