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SERVQUAL (Service Quality)



Alternate name(s)


Main dependent construct(s)/factor(s)

N/A. SERVQUAL is an operational instrument used to measure the service quality construct.

Main independent construct(s)/factor(s)

Service quality

Concise description of theory

SERVQUAL is a multi-item scale developed to assess customer perceptions of service quality in service and retail businesses (Parasuraman et. al., 1988). The scale decomposes the notion of service quality into five constructs as follows:

  • Tangibles - physical facilities, equipment, staff appearance, etc.
  • Reliability - ability to perform service dependably and accurately
  • Responsiveness - willingness to help and respond to customer need
  • Assurance - ability of staff to inspire confidence and trust
  • Empathy - the extent to which caring individualized service is given

SERVQUAL represents service quality as the discrepancy between a customer's expectations for a service offering and the customer's perceptions of the service received, requiring respondents to answer questions about both their expectations and their perceptions (Parasuraman et. al., 1988). The use of perceived as opposed to actual service received makes the SERVQUAL measure an attitude measure that is related to, but not the same as, satisfaction (Parasuraman et. al., 1988). Parasuraman et. al. (1991) presented some revisions to the original SERVQUAL measure to remedy problems with high means and standard deviations found on some questions and to obtain a direct measure of the importance of each construct to the customer.

Kettinger and Lee (1994) and Pitt et. al. (1995) were among the early adapters of SERVQUAL to the IS context. Their work sought to use SERVQUAL to measure the service quality of the IS function. Since this time concerns have been raised regarding the suitability of SERVQUAL to the IS context (Kettinger and Lee, 1997; Pitt et al., 1997; Carr, 2002; van Dyke et. al., 1999).

Diagram/schematic of theory


Originating author(s)

Parasuraman et. al. (1985); Parasuraman et. al. (1988); Parasuraman et. al. (1991)

Seminal articles

Parasuraman,A.;Berry,Leonard L.;Zeithaml,Valarie A., “A Conceptual Model of Service Quality and Its Implications for Future Research”, Journal of Marketing, 1985, 49, 4, 41-50.

Parasuraman,A.;Berry,Leonard L.;Zeithaml,Valarie A., “SERVQUAL: A Multiple-Item Scale For Measuring Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality”, Journal of Retailing, 1988, 64, 1, 12-40.

Parasuraman,A.;Berry,Leonard L.;Zeithaml,Valarie A., “Refinement and Reassessment of the SERVQUAL Scale”, Journal of Retailing, 1991, 67, 4, 420-450.

Originating area

Marketing, Consumer Behavior, Consumer Satisfaction

Level of analysis


IS articles that use the theory

Badri,Masood A.;Abdulla,Mohamed;Al-Madani,Abdelwahab, “Information technology center service quality”, International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 2005, 22, 8, 819-848.

Bharati,Pratyush;Berg,Daniel, "Managing Information Systems for Service Quality: A Study From the Other Side," Information Technology and People, 2003, 16, 2, 183-202.

Bharati,Pratyush;Berg,Daniel, "Service Quality From the Other Side: Information Systems Management at Duquesne Light," International Journal of Information Management, 2005, 25, 4, 367-380.

Carr,Christopher L., “A Psychometric Evaluation of the Expectations, Perceptions, and Difference-Scores Generated by the IS-Adapted SERVQUAL Instrument", Decision Sciences, 2002, 33, 2, 281-296.

Devaraj,Sarv;Fan,Ming;Kohli,Rejiv, “Antecedents of B2C channel satisfaction and preference: Validation e-Commerce metrics", Information Systems Research, 2002, 13, 3, 316-333.

Gounaris,Spiros;Dimitriadis,Sergios, “Assessing service quality on the Web: evidence from business-to-consumer portals”, Journal of Services Marketing, 2003, 17, 5, 529-548.

Grover,Varun;Cheon,Myun Joong;Teng,James T. C., “The effect of service quality and partnership on the outsourcing of information systems functions”, Journal of Management Information Systems, 1996, 12, 4, 89-116.

Jiang,James J.;Klein,Gary;Carr,Christopher L., “Measuring Information System Service Quality: Servqual from the Other Side”, MIS Quarterly, 2002, 26, 2, 145-166.

Jiang,James J.;Klein,Gary;Crampton,Suzanne M., “A Note on SERVQUAL Reliability and Validity in Information System Service Quality Measurement”, Decision Sciences, 2000, 31, 3, 725-744.

Kang,Helen;Bradley,Graham, “Measuring the performance of IT services: An assessment of SERVQUAL”, International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, 2002, 3, 3, 151-164.

Kettinger,William J.;Lee,Choong C., “Replication of Measures in Information Systems Research: The Case of IS SERVQUAL”, Decision Sciences, 1999, 30, 3, 893-899.

Kettinger,William J.;Lee,Choong C., “Pragmatic perspectives on the measurement of information systems service quality”, MIS Quarterly, 1997, 21, 2, 223-240.

Kettinger,William J.;Lee,Choong C., “Perceived Service Quality and User Satisfaction with the Information Services Function”, Decision Sciences, 1994, 25, 5/6, 737-766.

Kettinger,William J.;Lee,Choong C.;Lee,Sunro, “Global Measures of Information Service Quality: A Cross-National Study”, Decision Sciences, 1995, 26, 5, 569-589.

Kettinger, W. J., & Lee, C. C. " Zones of tolerance: Alternative scales for measuring information systems service quality", MIS Quarterly, 2005, 29, 4, 607-621.

Landrum,Hollis;Prybutok,Victor R., “A service quality and success model for the information service industry”, European Journal of Operational Research, 2004, 156, 3, 628-642.

Pitt,Leyland F.;Watson,Richard T.;Kavan,C. Bruce, “Measuring information systems service quality: Concerns for a complete canvas”, MIS Quarterly, 1997, 21, 2, 209-221.

Pitt,Leyland F.;Watson,Richard T.;Kavan,C. Bruce, “Service quality: A measure of information systems effectiveness”, MIS Quarterly, 1995, 19, 2, 173-187.

van Dyke,Thomas P.;Kappelman,Leon A.;Prybutok,Victor R., “Measuring information systems service quality: Concerns on the use of the SERVQUAL questionnaire”, MIS Quarterly, 1997, 21, 2, 195-208.

van Dyke,Thomas P.;Prybutok,Victor R.;Kappelman,Leon A., “Cautions on the Use of the SERVQUAL Measure to Assess the Quality of Information Systems Services”, Decision Sciences, 1999, 30, 3, 877-891.

van Iwaarden,Jos;van der Wiele,Ton;Ball,Leslie;Millen,Robert, “Applying SERVQUAL to Web sites: an exploratory study”, International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 2003, 20, 8, 919-935.

Watson,Richard T.;Pitt,Leyland F.;Kavan,C. Bruce, “Measuring Information Systems Service Quality: Lessons from Two Longitudinal Case Studies”, MIS Quarterly, 1998, 22, 1, 61-79.

Yoon,Sungchul;Suh,Hyunsuk, “Ensuring IT Consulting SERVQUAL and User Satisfaction: A Modified Measurement Tool”, Information Systems Frontiers, 2004, 6, 4, 341-351.

Links from this theory to other theories

Expectation confirmation theory

External links'SERVQUAL', a paper on SERVQUAL by van Dyke et. al. (1999), a paper on SERVQUAL by van Iwaarden et. al. (2003), some key SERVQUAL references presented by AIS

Original Contributor(s)

Brent Furneaux

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