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Servqual: An analysis

SERVQUAL has its detractors and is considered overly complex, subjective and statistically unreliable. The simplified RATER model however is a simple and useful model for qualitatively exploring and assessing customers’ service experiences and has been used widely by service delivery organizations. It is an efficient model in helping an organization shape up their efforts in bridging the gap between perceived and expected service.

Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, and Pons (2002) stated the SERVQUAL measuring tool “remains the most complete attempt to conceptualize and measure service quality” (p. 101). The main benefit to the SERVQUAL measuring tool is the ability of researchers to examine numerous service industries such as healthcare, banking, financial services, and education (Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, & Pons, 2002). The fact that SERVQUAL has critics does not render the measuring tool moot. Rather, the criticism received concerning SERVQUAL measuring tool may have more to do with how researchers use the tool. Nyeck, Morales, Ladhari, and Pons (2002) reviewed 40 articles that made use of the SERVQUAL measuring tool and discovered “that few researchers concern themselves with the validation of the measuring tool” (p. 106).

Literature Review

As the service sector of the global economy grows, the study of services and innovation are becoming increasingly important. Service products distributed regionally, nationally, and globally have become larger portions of company revenue streams; knowledge-intensive business services aimed at enhancing performance require reliable methods of measurement, assessment, and improvement (Spohrer & Maglio, 2008). As a result, accurate and reliable instruments that assess service quality are of great interest to companies whose revenues come from service delivery. Perhaps the most popular and widely used service quality instrument is SERVQUAL.

Service Quality

In 1988 Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry developed a generic instrument called SERVQUAL to measure service quality based on input from focus groups. Although SERVQUAL was developed within the marketing sector, it is also used in a variety of organizational settings, including Landrum, Prybutok, Zhang, & Peak libraries and information centers (Kettinger & Lee, 1994; Nitecki, 1996). Since 1988 Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry have made numerous changes to SERVQUAL, some in response to problems identified by other researchers. For instance, in 1994 they reported on three different SERVQUAL formats; they recommended that researchers use a format that separated customer expectation scores into tolerance zones.

Researchers have continued to use SERVQUAL instruments. In 1997, Van Dyke, Kappelman, and Prybutok employed SERVQUAL in an IS context, while in 2002 Banwet and Datta measured IT service quality in a library service, as did Landrum and Prybutok in 2004. Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1988) stated that since service quality depends on the relationship of customer expectations with customer perceptions, it is appropriate to calculate service quality by subtracting expected from perceived service. One then achieves an overall measure of service quality by averaging the scores of all items (Brown, Churchill, & Peter, 1992). However, this procedure gives also rise to two issues: the first is disagreement over what really is being measured in SERVQUAL with expectations and the second is the problematic nature of the resulting difference scores.

These two issues are resolved if one follows Cronin and Taylor (1992), and Teas (1993), who recommended that expectation ratings be eliminated altogether. In addition, Liljander (1994) states that there is more support for performance only models than for the disconfirmation model of service quality. Bolton and Drew (1991) stated that assessments of overall service quality are affected only by perceptions of performance levels. They suggested that direct measures of disconfirmation are more important than expectations. Boulding, Kalra, Staelin, and Zeithaml (1993) also suggested that perceptions alone influence overall service quality.

Furthermore, other studies suggested that SERVQUAL has unstable dimensions. For example, Jiang, Klein, and Carr (2002) used four dimensions in their study, while Landrum and Prybutok (2004) used five. Nitecki (1996) proposed a three-dimensional SERVQUAL model, as opposed the five dimensions proposed by Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Berry in 1990. As we have noted, these issues are all resolved if customer expectations are eliminated from the model.

The performance only approach to service quality utilizes the five of the seven SERVQUAL dimensions-the five performance dimensions. Cronin and Taylor (1992), called this performance only subset instrument SERVPERF. When Cronin and Taylor (1992) compared SERVPERF to SERVQUAL, their results supported the dissenters: performance scores alone account for more variation in service quality than performance minus expectations. Performance alone provides better predictive validity than SERVQUAL which is gap-based (Brady, Cronin, & Brand, 2002; Cronin & Taylor 1992) and other studies show that performance scores alone exhibit better reliability and validity than difference scores (Babakus & Boller 1992; Brady et al., 2002; Landrum & Prybutok 2004; Landrum, Prybutok, Strutton, & Zhang, 2008). Based upon these findings, we used only performance scores to perform analysis on the five SERVQUAL service quality dimensions.

Cook and Thompson (2000) investigated the reliability and validity of SERVQUAL instrument in the context of library service. They found that SERVQUAL displayed three responsive dimensions, rather than the five dimensions originally proposed by Parasuraman et al. (1988). As a result, they concluded that responsive, empathy, and assurance dimensions overlapped in this particular service domain. Nitecki and Hernon (2000) used SERVQUAL to assess library services at Yale University and found that among the five dimensions of SERVQUAL, respondents considered reliability the most important and empathy least important among the five quality dimensions (Landrum, Prybutok, Kappelman, & Zhang, 2008).

Gaps

ServQual model basically is a study of the Gap between Expectations and Experience. The Gap is not present only due to the perception and Experience of the Customer. The Following Diagram Identifies seven type of Gaps that exist between different aspects of an organization and are required to study when ServQual is studied rest of the Gaps are ignored in ServQual MODEL

Model of Service Quality Gaps

There are seven major gaps in the service quality concept, which are shown in Figure 1. The model is an extention of Parasuraman et al. (1985). According to the following explanation (ASI Quality Systems, 1992; Curry, 1999; Luk and Layton, 2002), the three important gaps, which are more associated with the external customers are Gap1, Gap5 and Gap6; since they have a direct relationship with customers.

· Gap1: Customers’ expectations versus management perceptions: as a result of the lack of a marketing research orientation, inadequate upward communication and too many layers of management.

· Gap2: Management perceptions versus service specifications: as a result of inadequate commitment to service quality, a perception of unfeasibility, inadequate task standardisation and an absence of goal setting.

· Gap3: Service specifications versus service delivery: as a result of role ambiguity and conflict, poor employee-job fit and poor technology-job fit, inappropriate supervisory control systems, lack of perceived control and lack of teamwork.

· Gap4: Service delivery versus external communication: as a result of inadequate horizontal communications and propensity to over-promise.

· Gap5: The discrepancy between customer expectations and their perceptions of the service delivered: as a result of the influences exerted from the customer side and the shortfalls (gaps) on the part of the service provider. In this case, customer expectations are influenced by the extent of personal needs, word of mouth recommendation and past service experiences.

· Gap6: The discrepancy between customer expectations and employees’ perceptions: as a result of the differences in the understanding of customer expectations by front-line service providers.

· Gap7: The discrepancy between employee’s perceptions and management perceptions: as a result of the differences in the understanding of customer expectations between managers and service providers

Since Our survey is not based on GAPS it only measures Customer’s Experience

Course outline is followed during the course

Analysis

The frequency Distribution suggests that the majority of concentration of the sample seem to be neutral or they are reluctant to quote that about the following of course outline. The rest however seem to agree with the statement

Approximately 29% of the sample is neutral in the fact, 42% support that Course outline is followed during the Classes and 29% Say no to the answer.

Teacher teaches mainly up to date topics

Analysis

Here the frequency distribution is rather favorable but the concentration is again neutral or is reluctant to quote. The rest however has a strong supporting element meaning that it is agreed that up to date topics are taught

Here approx. 37% are neutral. 48% agree that up-to-date topics are taught and 15% said no. So this is the strong point of the Sample

Teacher observes punctuality

Analysis

Punctuality looks like the strong point of the University and hence the population is concentrated on the Support of it. However there is again reluctance in answering. There is a very strong support for punctuality.

Approx. 56% of the sample supports Punctuality. 29% seem neutral and 15% tend to go against it.

Teacher’s promises to students are met up-to-mark

Analysis

The concentration of students neither agree nor disagree with the statement however there is again a positive trend in the sample and more students support the question then the negations.

Approx. 34% of the sample is neutrals. 50% Support the honoring of teachers promises and 16% say no to the statement

Teachers in UCP are always willing to help students

Analysis

The concentration of students has dispersed with the statement motive however there is a positive trend in the sample and more students support the question then the negations..

Approx. 29% of the sample is neutrals. 43% Support the helping teachers and 28% negate the statement

When students require further assistance other than class they are given so

Analysis

The concentration of students is neutral with statement however there is again a positive trend in the sample and more students support the question then deniers. But again there is a much more negative impact of acquiring further assistance besides class. It means that teachers are not always giving further assistance to students.

Approx. 27% of the sample is neutrals. 39% Support the Teachers assistance promises and 34% say no to the statement

If students have a problem their teacher solves it immediately

Analysis

This is the only question so far that doesn’t concentrate as neutrals. There is less concentration of neutrals with positives. So there is again a positive trend in the sample and more students support the question then do negate it.

Approx. 29% of the sample is neutrals. 46% Support teachers as problem solvers and 25% say no to the statement.

Teachers have the appropriate knowledge to answer students’ question

Analysis

As it is a very sensitive question so no one strongly disagrees and the concentration agree when it comes to teacher’s knowledge. And the disagreement rate has also fallen.

Approx. 32% of the sample is neutrals. 54% Support the knowledge criteria of the knowledge of the teachers promises and 14% say no to the statement

The teaching style is satisfactory

Analysis

The concentration of students support with the statement so it means that teaching style is satisfactory however there is again a positive trend in the sample and much more students support the question then the negations.

Approx. 25% of the sample is neutrals. 59% Support teaching style and 16% say no to the statement. This is the greatest support of the whole academic program

Teacher always promote confidence in students

Analysis

The concentration of students neither agree nor disagree with the statement however there is again a positive trend in the sample and more students support the question then the negations.

Approx. 34% of the sample is neutrals. 41% Support the Confidence promotion by the teachers and 25% say no to the statement

Students feel that they have learned something after attending the lecture

Analysis

Almost Everyone is satisfied that he learns something from the class and little percentage disagrees even the neutral effect is less as compared to supporters.

Approx. 25% of the sample is neutrals. 66% Support the Learning after the lecture and 8% say no to the statement

Teachers give students updates about the corporate world

Analysis

The concentration of is at agreement with the statement little are those who think that updates about corporate world are not received.

Approx. 23% of the sample is neutrals. 56% Support the updating of the students by teachers and 21% say no to the statement

Students feel that they are studying latest practices going on in the corporate world

Analysis

The disagreement rate arises here but is lesser than the agreement rate and concentration of neutrals is very few. So overall all not everyone thinks that best corporate practices are taught as a course framework

Approx. 25% of the sample is neutrals. 44% Support the being taught latest practices in corporate world and 31% say no to the statement

Teachers are always willing to give students individual attention

Analysis

The sample is scattered here and more are with the support with the agreement less neutrals and there stands negates with a considerable number.

Approx. 18% of the sample is neutrals. 48% Support the teachers individual attention and 34% say no to the statement

Teacher is always available during the hours available to all their students

Analysis

The highest concentration in this question is of neutralists in this statement and it is also said that here more students from the sample tend to disagree rather than the agreeing lot

Approx. 26% of the sample is neutrals. 48% Support Availability of teacher and 32% say no to the statement

The teacher always has the students’ best interests at heart

Analysis

The sample is not sure whether to support or deny the statement with the agreement agreements and disagreements tend to be almost equal.

Approx. 38% of the sample is neutrals. 30% Support the statement and 32% say no to the statement

Teachers understand Students specific needs

Analysis

The sample concentrated here but also has negativity more than the support. It means that the needs of the students are not always met.

Approx. 38% of the sample is neutrals. 26% Support that teachers do fulfill their needs and 36% say no to the statement

Teachers communicate at student’s level

Analysis

The sample is scattered here and more are with the support with the agreement less neutrals and there stands negates with a considerable number.

Approx. 18% of the sample is neutrals. 48% Support that the communication is at students level and 34% say no to the statement.

The Classroom is equipped with latest technology (multimedia etc)

Analysis

The sample is scattered here and more are supporting as compared to denying but the neutral sample is the least.

Approx. 11% of the sample is neutrals. 57% Support the presence of latest technologies and 32% say no to the statement

The Atmosphere of Classroom is comfortable

Analysis

The sample is well scattered here and support is much more than rejection and the fellows who are neutral are also considerable in number.

Approx. 23% of the sample is neutrals. 50% Support that classroom is indeed comfortable and 27% say no to the statement

Teachers outlook is professionals

Analysis

Here the sample thinks highly of the professional outlook of teachers. And grade that variable very high as compared to both negations and neutrals

Approx. 14% of the sample is neutrals. 66% Support the honoring of teachers promises and 20% say no to the statement

Box and whisker plot (Questions)

Strengths

Teachers promises met up-to-mark

Teachers in UCP are always willing to help students

Students feel that they have learned something after attending the lecture

Students feel that they are studying latest practices going on in the corporate world

Teachers communicate at student’s level

The Classroom is equipped with latest technology (multimedia etc)

The Atmosphere of Classroom is comfortable

Teachers outlook is professionals

Weaknesses

Course outline is not always followed in the class

Teachers in UCP are not always willing to help students

When students require further assistance other than class they are not always given so

Teachers are not always willing to give students individual attention

Teachers are not always available during the hours available to all their students

The Teacher at UCP does not always have the students’ best interests at heart or its not calculated so

Dimensions

Reliability

Reliability is dispersed

It is positive to a specific extent

The median lies beside first quartile meaning and on neutral meaning it has positive 3 quartiles majority is positive

Responsiveness

Responsiveness is less dispersed

It is positive to a specific extent more positive than reliability

The median lies beside first quartile meaning and on neutral meaning it has positive 3 quartiles majority is positive

Assurance

Assurance is less dispersed especially its first quartile

It is positive to a specific extent

The median lies between the box denoting that the central tendency is more positive

Tangible

tangibility is dispersed

Second and third quartile are Positive and the last quartile is concentrated on 5 meaning it is preferred most

The median lies on 4 meaning that the population is centralized on favorable condition

Empathy

Empathy is most dispersed

Middle quartiles are more dispersed and the 1st and 4th are relatively concentrated with the first more concentrated meaning it is the weakness of academic level of University

The median lies on 3 meaning its neither supportive nor unsupportive

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