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Journal Article

Evaluating Service Quality Dimensions within e‑Commerce SMEs  pp155-170

Graham D. April, Shaun Pather

© Nov 2008 Volume 11 Issue 3, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp109 - 212

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Abstract

With the continued growing investment in WWW technologies by e‑Commerce businesses the measurement of Information Systems (IS) effectiveness in this business sector has become increasingly important over the last decade. As business users, especially in the SME sector, have become reliant on outsourced IS service providers for a wide range of services, the quality of service rendered by the latter is an important issue which impacts on IS effectiveness. Researchers have since the 1990s recognised the importance of service quality as a measure of IS performance. The literature suggests that IS service delivery to e‑Commerce businesses needs to be evaluated differently to that of traditional brick‑and‑mortar businesses. There is however a paucity of research regarding IS evaluation in e‑Commerce environments, including that of the application of service quality principles. It is thus difficult for managers of IS service providers in this context to develop a complete picture of the effectiveness of the IS they deliver. This paper reports on a study which investigated whether IS service quality criteria and dimensions applied in large brick‑ and‑mortar organisations, are also applicable to SME e‑Commerce businesses in the tourism sector in South Africa. In pursuit of this objective an IS‑adapted SERVQUAL instrument was tested in an e‑Commerce SME environment. The research results indicate that, although SERVQUAL principles are applicable to the e‑Commerce SME context, the service quality dimensionality is different. The research derived four new dimensions for service quality expectations of e‑ Commerce SMEs viz., Credibility, Expertise, Availability and Supportiveness. A fifth dimension is the Tangibles dimension, which is retained from SERVQUAL. Furthermore the results indicate that the Credibility dimension was the most important dimension in this research context, while the Tangibles dimension was the least important.

 

Keywords: information systems, evaluation, e-commerce, WWW, service-quality, SME, SERVQUAL, IS outsourcing

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 11 Issue 3 / Nov 2008  pp109‑212

Editor: Dan Remenyi

View Contents Download PDF (free)

Keywords: B2C e-commerce, boundary objects, business-to-business integration, Caribbean, data functionality , data ownership, DeLone and McLean, developing countries, e-commerce success, economic profit, electronic surveys, evaluation methodology, Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC), information and communication technologies (ICT), inter-organizational data integration problems, IS evaluation, IS management, IS outsourcing , IS Project Management, IS success, Middle East, multi-method, Oman, product management, project management, Project Objectives Measurement Model (POMM), service levels, SERVQUAL, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SME, success criteria, systems science, systems thinking, traceability, WWW, service-quality

 

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