Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Applying the principles of system dynamics as a lever for sustainable service quality : the case of commercial vehicle dealerships in South Africa
Author: Thiele, Christoph
ISNI:       0000 0005 0286 4547
Awarding Body: Edinburgh Napier University
Current Institution: Edinburgh Napier University
Date of Award: 2020
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Service quality (SQ) has been a key driver of profitability in commercial vehicle dealerships and is bound to remain so in the increasingly dynamic and competitive context of the automotive sector. Current approaches to optimising SQ in this highly complex environment are mostly unsustainable in spite of an abundance of strategic initiatives. System dynamics (SD), a modelling and simulation methodology, could prove valuable in exploring the dynamically complex SQ process and in facilitating effective solutions. However, academics and practitioners alike have paid little attention to research on how SD can help implement solutions to sustainably improve SQ – a loophole in both the literature and industry. The context of commercial vehicle dealerships is a critical case in point and elicits the following research questions:▪ What is the nature of the SQ process in commercial vehicle dealerships?▪ What are the systemic challenges impacting on the SQ process?▪ How can SD be deployed to improve the SQ process sustainably? To address these questions, this study develops a hitherto insufficiently established connection between the two streams of literature on SQ and SD and derives a conceptual framework for primary research illuminating key issues and concerns emerging from the application of SD to SQ. A pragmatic approach is adopted to examine through the SD lens the sociotechnical system that supports the dynamic SQ process in South African commercial vehicle dealerships. The results show high degrees of interdependence between seven service system components, which underpin the SQ process in commercial vehicle dealerships and drive its change over time – stressing the need for system-based approaches to understand and optimise SQ. The central systemic challenge for service organisations is to make balanced and continuous investments – on individual, organisational and support structural levels – in the maintenance and development of static and dynamic service capabilities despite the daily operational pressure. Based on these findings, the study presents an operational framework consisting of four cyclical stages – Problem articulation & diagnosis, Solution design and action planning, Institutionalisation, and Evaluation. The framework comprises a set of practical recommendations for service managers to effectively apply SD modelling and simulation to SQ for a sustainable SQ process in commercial vehicle dealerships in South Africa.
Supervisor: Sholl, Sarah Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: service quality ; system dynamics ; commercial vehicle dealerships ; South Africa