Measuring Information Systems Service Quality: Concerns on the Use of the SERVQUAL Questionnaire

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A recent MIS Quarterly article rightfully points out that service is an important part of the role of the information systems (IS) department and that most IS assessment measures have a product orientation (Pitt, et al. 1995). The article went on to suggest the use of an IS-context-modified version of the SERVQUAL instrument to assess the quality of the services supplied by an information services provider (Parasuraman, et al. 1985, 1988, 1991). However, a number of problems with the SERVQUAL instrument have been discussed in the literature (e.g., Babakus and Boller 1992; Carman 1990; Cronin and Taylor 1992, 1994; Teas 1993). This article reviews that literature and discusses some of the implications for measuring service quality in the information systems context. Findings indicate that SERVQUAL suffers from a number of conceptual and empirical difficulties. Conceptual difficulties include the operationalization of perceived service quality as a difference or gap score, the ambiguity of the expectations construct, and the unsuitability of using a single measure of service quality across different industries. Empirical problems, which may be linked to the use of difference scores, include reduced reliability, poor convergent validity, and poor predictive validity. This suggests that (1) some alternative to difference scores is preferable and should be utilized; (2) if used, caution should be exercised in the interpretation of IS-SERVQUAL difference scores; and (3) further work is needed in the development of measures for assessing the quality of IS services.

Additional Details

Author Thomas P. Van Dyke, Leon A. Kappelman, Victor R. Prybutok
Year 1997
Volume 21
Issue 2
Keywords IS management, evaluation, measurement, service quality, user attitudes, user expectations
Page Numbers 195-208