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Title: An investigation into managing quality in the procurement of professional services : a social capital perspective
Author: Kalra, Tejasav
ISNI:       0000 0005 0290 1301
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2019
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The evolution of manufacturing paradigms from craft to mass to lean production has led to quality becoming a subject of significant attention in the operations management discipline. After the early prescriptive literature of the 1980s, this evolved into a more analytical and academic one during the 1990s. This led to the development of a manufacturing-focused understanding of quality management (QM) in operations management. In contrast, the scholarship on service QM has been under-represented from this perspective, as most of the contributions to the concept of service quality have been from the marketing discipline. Operations management scholars have found the concept of QM to be highly context-dependent and have called for more contingent research. Furthermore, over the years, studies have consistently reported QM to be one of the most significant challenges in managing complex services. Without a theoretical exploration of service quality management, our understanding of the concept of QM will remain limited. This thesis addresses this issue by exploring how the clients and professional service providers (PSPs) manage quality in the procurement of professional services. Through the adoption of a social capital lens, this research objective was achieved through an embedded case study. As per this strategy, eight professional service exchanges, embedded within a single case of a multinational financial services firm, were investigated. Data were collected through a combination of unstructured and semi-structured interviews, direct observation and analysis of secondary data. This study contributes to the theory through the proposal of an empirical framework that explains how the social capital in the client-PSP relationship is influenced by the complexity of the professional service. Moreover, the framework sheds light on the influence of the service complexity and the function of social capital in the management of its quality. It was found that social capital is, indeed, influenced by the complexity of service. Professional service complexity was found to have an adverse effect on social capital in the client-professional service provider relationship. This effect was found to be somewhat mitigated by certain contextual variables. Furthermore, whilst the complexity of professional service had a negative influence on the core QM practices, the social capital in the relationship was found to be fostering infrastructure QM practices. In line with expectations, the core and infrastructure quality management practices were found to be positively associated with the service's conformance to specifications and satisfaction, respectively. In conclusion, by linking the concepts of service complexity, social capital and QM practices, the thesis has contributed to the emerging professional service operations and supply chain literature.
Supervisor: Potter, Antony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Complex services procurement ; Professional service operations management ; Social capital theory ; Quality management