Author: Luk, Ching-yee Amy
Title: A narrative approach to the study of service quality performance : a case study in a public utility company in Hong Kong
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2009
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Public utilities -- China -- Hong Kong -- Quality control -- Case studies.
Consumer satisfaction -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies.
Department: Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Pages: ix, 183 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Abstract: The service industry now contributes to the largest percentage of the Gross National Products of most developed economies. The success of service sectors depends on the quality of the delivery process of their services and products. The study of service quality enhancement has received much attention. Most researches on service quality put more focus on the customer perspectives as how to meet or exceed their needs and expectations. Unlike the manufacturing of physical goods where the quality can be built in the production by adopting of various quality technologies and systems, the delivery of good quality service is much more human-centric and does not only rely on the skills and training of the employees but also on various hidden cultural, organizational, behavioural factors of the service organizations. How these human-centric data can be collected and analyzed to give a better understanding of the organizational factors involved in enhancing service quality forms the main theme of this study. A study has been conducted in a public utility company in Hong Kong to identify the key elements affecting the quality of service performance among the front-line employees and to explore the relationships among the key elements affecting the quality of service performance. This project employs a mixed method approach which includes both narrative and pre-hypothesis research. A comparison between the findings from both sets of qualitative and quantitative data with the dimensions derived from the published models of service quality is also made so as to provide further insights on service quality improvements. Organizations are complex systems and the interpretations of the complexity of its environment are best recorded by narratives. Anecdotes and stories were collected through group interviews with the front-line staff (the service technicians) on their daily encounters with their clients. These anecdotes were transcribed and codified to come up with various concepts which were then grouped into key elements of service quality which may affect the performance of the employees. The relevance of these key elements from the perspectives of the front-line staff (as opposed to those from the researcher) uncovered from the narratives was then tested in a pre-hypothesis. The stories collected were rated (indexed) in a scale by the service technicians against each of the key elements according to various indicators. The narrative patterns of the told stories were analyzed by a sense-making tool developed by Snowden based on the Cynefin Model of narratives as a sense making response to social complexity. The indexing of the key elements from the perspectives of the participants provides visualized images revealing the complex patterns, relevance and anomalies that would not be shown from conventional questionnaire survey analysis. This research study illustrates that narratives are useful to elicit the tacit knowledge of people and contexts embedded in a social phenomenon and can be used to form the base of a full-scale questionnaire survey study.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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