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Title: Rural small firm service quality in the business-to-consumer service sector : a study in Dumfries and Galloway
Author: Moyes, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2713 7269
Awarding Body: University of the West of Scotland
Current Institution: University of the West of Scotland
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis is concerned with the antecedents, evaluations and consequences of rural service quality in the business-to-consumer (B2C) service sector. The thesis examines rural service quality from three separate, but overlapping, perspectives. Thus, a multi-layer framework is created. Small firms depend upon repeat business for the majority of their income (Chaston and Mangles, 2002) and on positive word-of-mouth as their key source of new customers (Spence and Schmidpeter, 2003). Repeat business and referrals are examples of loyalty behaviours; therefore, it is important for small firm owner-managers to understand the drivers of customer loyalty. The study reveals the dimensions of rural consumer service quality evaluations and their relative impacts on loyalty behaviour and it develops an understanding of relationship capital in the rural SME service-sector. The research approach employs multi-method techniques in a qualitative research design to examine the perspectives of key informants, small business owner-managers and consumers in Dumfries and Galloway. The research employs semi-structured interviews with key informants and with a sample of SME owner-managers. The Critical Incident Technique (Flanagan, 1954) is used to explore the experiences and evaluations of rural service consumers. These different perspectives are contrasted to identify areas of agreement and differences and these are used to inform the conclusions and recommendations of the research for rural policy makers and for small firms. The study finds different apprehensions of the major challenges of rurality between key informants and small firm owner-managers and differences in service quality priorities between providers and consumers of rural services. The findings from the study are used to construct a conceptual understanding of service quality in a rural area; how rurality informs service quality, how service quality is understood by rural small firm owner-managers and how service quality is judged by rural service consumers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available