Monday, 18 December 2017

Service Quality – An Important Strategic Tool in Academics

Article by : Prof. Pinaki Ranjan Bhattacharyya, Associate Professor, Calcutta Business School

Quality has become an important strategic tool in the modern world as it ensures the viability of a business. Some prominent definitions include ‘conformance to requirements’ (Crosby, 1984), ‘fitness for use’ (Juran,1988) or ‘one that satisfies the customer’ (Eiglier and Langeard, 1976). Though initial efforts have been made to define quality in various forms, the present meaning of quality is meeting or exceeding customers’ expectations. Service Quality definition came into light when Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985) emphasized that quality of manufacturing industry is largely different from services industry due to its inherent characteristics of intangibility, heterogeneity, perishability and inseparability. They stressed that services vary in their degree of intangibility with respect to lack of physical attributes of the actual service (outcome) and the lack of physical evidence of the process. Higher education is increasingly being recognised as a service industry. Therefore, this sector is emphasizing more on meeting the expectations and needs of its participating customers, that is, the students. Accordingly, Higher Education Institution's (HEI’s) therefore, try to assign more time and resources to enhance the quality of their pedagogical skills backed with industry exposure wherever necessary and practice to make them more interesting and application oriented, as perceived by the students. Management, as a stream of Higher Education and training has also acquired new dimensions in the last few decades. Since time immemorial, Indians are known to possess people, trained & well equipped with knowledge & intellect to tackle the problems which they face in the business world. Since B-schools are also a part of this service process, Indian B-schools are also likely to deliver the optimum in terms of quality. Moreover, globalization & liberalization has widened the scope and has encouraged entrepreneurs to venture into this industry to consolidate more in terms of business prospects rather than a social responsibility. It is in this context that the question of service quality comes into mind as education is primarily perceived by the stakeholders as a service sector. The challenges of operations and maintenance of quality has brought the B-Schools to a competitive level to showcase their ability in developing centres of excellence. But of late, Management Education is at the crossroads in terms of occupancy level as the number of seats on offer has increased significantly and several institutes at different tiers of B-Schools in India have not been able to train their students meet the requirements of corporate world. This is because, most of these Institutes are not focusing on Quality and excellence to identify a niche area which will differentiate them in terms of performance of their students at various corporate houses. A rigorous planning and strategic effort with an innovative curriculum from the educational institutes is the order of the day to create a brand in imparting quality education which may successfully help the industry in overcoming this problem.

  • Parasuraman A, Zeithaml V A and Berry LL (1985). “A Conceptual Model of Service Quality and Its Implications for Future Research,” Journal of Marketing, 49(Fall), pp 41-50
  • Eiglier P & Langeard E (1976) ‘Principe de Politique Marketing Pour les Enterprises de Service’, working paper of the Institute d’Administration des Enterprises Université d’Aix-Marseille
  • Three Experts on Quality Management: Philip B. Crosby , W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran, Total Quality Leadership Office, 1992

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