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Customer Satisfaction, Service Quality, and Customer Value: Years 2000-2015

Article  in  International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management · January 2017


DOI: 10.1108/IJCHM-10-2015-0594

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International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Customer satisfaction, service quality, and customer value: years 2000-2015
Haemoon Oh Kawon Kim
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To cite this document:
Haemoon Oh Kawon Kim , (2017),"Customer satisfaction, service quality, and customer value: years
2000-2015 ", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 29 Iss 1 pp. 2 - 29
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IJCHM
29,1
Customer satisfaction, service
quality, and customer value:
years 2000-2015
2 Haemoon Oh
College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management,
Received 28 October 2015 University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA, and
Revised 23 January 2016
23 February 2016 Kawon Kim
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Accepted 10 April 2016


Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management,
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA

Abstract
Purpose – This paper aims to review hospitality and tourism research on customer satisfaction (CS), service
quality (SQ) and customer value (CV) published in several established hospitality and tourism journals over
the past 15-16 years. A parallel review of research on the same topics published in several leading marketing
journals is also conducted to show comparisons in research trends across the two different, but closely related,
fields of study. By doing so, this paper aims to summarize lessons learned from previous research and provide
suggestions for future research on the topics in the hospitality and tourism discipline.
Design/methodology/approach – This study reviewed 242 articles appearing in six selected hospitality
and tourism journals and 71 articles in four business journals that were published on CS, SQ and CV over the
period of 2000-2015. A comprehensive coding scheme was developed to sort each study by more than 50
criteria.
Findings – While research on these topics has grown constantly during the period in the hospitality and
tourism field, it has declined in the general business discipline over the same period. Hospitality and tourism
research relied heavily on cross-sectional data through a survey approach, whereas business studies used
experimental designs more frequently. Research on CS has sustained both interest and productivity, but
research on SQ and CV has dwindled over time. Another notable finding is that most studies are not grounded
in strong theories, although CS studies tended to be more theory-embedded.
Practical implications – This study provides many useful insights into the research practice and trends
of related research and suggestions for future research, especially for hospitality and tourism researchers.
Originality/value – This study provides an unprecedented, comprehensive review of theories, methods,
discussion points, implications, limitations and conclusions of studies on CS, SQ and CV published in selected
hospitality and tourism journals over the past 15 years.
Keywords Tourism, Hospitality, Service quality, Customer satisfaction, Customer value,
Current issues
Paper type Research paper

Introduction
Research on customer satisfaction (CS), service quality (SQ) and customer value (CV)
remains robust in both the frequency and volume of appearance in the hospitality and
International Journal of
Contemporary Hospitality
general business literature. Following their intense arrival as central marketing concepts to
Management study in the past three decades of the past century (Oh and Parks, 1997; Rao and Monroe,
Vol. 29 No. 1, 2017
pp. 2-29 1989; Yi, 1993), these constructs have matured as critical summary indicators of the
© Emerald Publishing Limited
0959-6119
customer’s overall experience with products and services in various business research
DOI 10.1108/IJCHM-10-2015-0594 programs. In the past 15-16 years alone, for example, articles devoted exclusively to
examining these concepts amounted to about 4.3 per cent in Journal of Marketing, 3.1 per cent Customer
in Journal of Retailing, 6.9 per cent in Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research and 3.4 per satisfaction
cent in Tourism Management, per year, on average. These figures were persistent year on
year over the period, and will be significantly higher when we count the studies that had one
or more of these concepts as part of the research model.
Given the continuing research interest in the topics, the field needs periodic pauses for
reflection and recalibration of future directions. Since Oh and Parks (1997) provided a
comprehensive, critical review of research on these topics, no such effort has appeared for 3
nearly two decades in the journals selected for a review in this study. As the discipline’s
demand and activity for research continuously intensify, a parallel endeavor to evaluate the
progress and redefine the research agenda is desirable for more organized scientific
productivity. In particular, concepts like CS, SQ, and CV need research practice built on
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rigorous conceptualization and operationalization standards, as they not only have their own
concept-specific controversial issues but they also serve a variety of research models in the
discipline as a variable gauging the overall outcome of customer experience and the
operational success of an organization or unit. Hence, a comprehensive review geared toward
developing future directions for research on these topics seems to be in order.
This study provides an integrative review of research on CS, SQ and CV for the period
from 2000 to 2015. The goals are to examine the state of the art of recent research on the topics
and, thereby, develop suggestions for future research. While these three concepts have their
own conceptual foundations and modus operandi, they also share goals of explaining the
process of customer experience and predicting repurchases (Oh, 1999). An integrative
review, therefore, is likely to enrich our understanding while extending such previous
attempt by Oh and Parks (1997). Our review covers the period of the past 15-16 years
(2000-2015, with some issues available for 2015 at the time this review was conducted) and
six hospitality and tourism (H&T) journals such as Annals of Tourism Research (Annals),
Cornell Hospitality Quarterly (CHQ), International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality
Management (IJCHM), International Journal of Hospitality Management (IJHM), Journal of
Hospitality & Tourism Research (JHTR) and Tourism Management (TM). While we
subjectively chose these journals, they have tended to rank highly in different journal ratings
recently (Park et al., 2011; Svensson et al., 2009). We believed that highly ranked journals
would tend to set the trend and provide leadership in the rigor of various topical research
programs in the discipline. We also reviewed some leading business journals such as Journal
of Consumer Research (JCR), Journal of Marketing (JM), Journal of Marketing Research (JMR)
and Journal of Retailing (JR) to interactively compare the H&T disciplinary research to
general business research trends on the same topics. In essence, by reviewing these selected
journals, we did not intend that our review was either exhaustive or crediting of any
particular journal’s status; rather, we delimited the scope of our review subjectively to a
manageable set of highly rated journals for the purposes of our study.

Studies reviewed
We identified 242 articles appearing in the six H&T and 71 in the four business journals over
the review period. To develop a database of such articles, we relied on a combination of
electronic databases (ProQuest, Emerald and ScienceDirect) and our own manual searches
by using the search terms or keywords “customer satisfaction”, “service quality” and
“customer value”. As a result, we selected articles published between 2000 and 2015 to
provide a review on more recent developments along these topics, as a similar review for a
previous period was already available (Oh and Parks, 1997). Thus, our review could provide
an updated review on the topics in continuation of that by Oh and Parks without losing much
IJCHM information. We included only those articles that either focused on examining the
29,1 phenomenon of CS, SQ or CV for the sake of advancing relevant theoretical/methodological
knowledge or included one or more of these concepts as focal variables in the study (a
complete list of the articles included in this review is available from the authors upon
request). We added the latter despite our primary interest in the former so as not to rule out
the studies applying the three concepts in related research. A comprehensive coding scheme
4 was developed to sort each study by more than 50 criteria such as theory, number of
proposed and supported hypotheses, variables, study context, sample, measurement,
analysis, implication, limitation and so on. We developed these criteria anecdotally as a
result of reviewing the selected articles to cover the common elements of studies and the
fundamental building blocks of research articles typically in the H&T discipline. Of the 242
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H&T articles, 7 (3 per cent) were essentially conceptual and 235 (97 per cent) were empirical
studies, of which 210 reported one, 24 reported two, and one reported three empirical studies,
resulting in a total of 268 H&T studies. Thus, on average, H&T empirical articles reported
1.1 studies. Of the 71 business articles, three (4 per cent) were conceptual and 68 (96 per cent)
were empirical studies, of which 39 reported at least one set of study results, with 13
reporting two, six reporting three, five reporting four, two reporting five and three reporting
as many as six studies in the same article, thereby covering a total of 134 studies. On average,
empirical business articles reported 1.9 studies.
Topically, CS has remained the most proliferating of the three concepts in both H&T and
general business research. Of the 242 H&T articles, nearly 46 per cent focused exclusively on
CS, followed by 26 per cent on SQ and 7 per cent on CV. Additional 10 per cent featured both
CS and SQ simultaneously, while 7 per cent of the studies examined a combination of CS and
CV, and only 2 per cent SQ and CV in pair. Although previous studies on these topics
emphasized a need to integrate these three concepts in a single framework for better
explanations of related consumer behaviors (Oh and Parks, 1997), studies examining three
concepts altogether were still relatively infrequent at only 4 per cent perhaps because these
topics started in different conceptual frameworks and have retained their own
methodological traditions. Such frequencies of topical appearance in the H&T journals were
significantly different from those in the business journals, where 76 per cent were
CS-focused, followed by 9 per cent SQ, 3 per cent CV, 7 per cent a combination of CS and SQ,
3 per cent CS and CV and 3 per cent three concepts altogether. No business study examined
SQ and CV simultaneously.
H&T articles on the three concepts showed an increasingly stronger appearance over
time. Over the review period, for example, nearly 40 per cent of all reviewed studies were
published in 2011-2015, up from 38 per cent in 2006-2010 and 21 per cent in 2000-2005.
However, as shown in Figure 1 this pattern appeared reversed for the business journals
where relevant articles showed a decreasing appearance trend over the review period.
Specifically, while nearly 42 per cent of the reviewed articles were published in 2000-2005, 37
per cent appeared in 2006-2010 and 23 per cent in 2011-2015.
The number of articles published on these three topics was significantly different across
the journals. In the H&T discipline, IJHM published 31 per cent (75 articles) of all reviewed
studies, followed by 30 per cent by TM, 14 per cent by IJCHM, 12 per cent by JHTR, 9 per cent
by CHQ and 4 per cent by Annals. For the 71 business articles, JM contributed 37 per cent, JR
27 per cent, JMR 23 per cent and JCR 14 per cent. Across the two disciplines, CS studies were
definitely more frequent (46 per cent for H&T vs 76 per cent for business) than SQ (26 vs 9 per
cent) and CV studies (7 vs 3 per cent). Notably, CS drew more attention than the other two,
while it was of much more frequent inquiry in the business than in the H&T journals.
Conversely, SQ was a significantly more popular topic in the H&T than in the business Customer
journals. CV was a topic of least investigation overall. satisfaction
Conceptual background
Theories in application
The majority of H&T studies either did not specify the source theories they applied or did not
indeed rely on any specific theory for generating research hypotheses. Overall, nearly 50 per
cent of the reviewed H&T CS (48 per cent), SQ (55 per cent) and CV (53 per cent) studies fell
5
in such a category as having no targeted theoretical underpinning. Note that as SERVQUAL
was a mainstream research framework for early SQ studies, it was counted as a theory or
theoretical framework in this review. Many of the studies lacking theoretical framing did of
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course provide a review, albeit often fragmentary in nature, of various past studies and, in
some cases, related applicable theories; nonetheless, our close examination revealed that they
had no reference to or reliance on any specific theory when framing the study or developing
hypotheses. Frequently, they stated hypotheses with mere reference to the empirical results
of other studies without providing substantive conceptual discussion or reasoning. Such
figures corresponded operationally to the finding that 43 per cent of all H&T studies stated
no formal research hypothesis. Note also that nearly 91 per cent of all studies pursued
empirical evidence by using a survey, secondary data or experiment design in which
statements of formal research hypotheses are customary in general.
The frequent absence of theoretical exposition in framing the study and research
hypotheses was evident in the business studies as well. Almost 54 per cent of the reviewed
studies fell in this category. Topically, this category consisted of 64 per cent of CS, 40 per cent
of SQ and 50 per cent of CV studies. These figures were somewhat commensurate with the
fact that 40 per cent of the business studies did not contain formal research hypotheses while,
similar to the case of H&T studies, 94 per cent of them used experiment (57 per cent), survey
(28 per cent) or secondary data (9 per cent) designs. The ways these studies were framed were
generally analogous to those the H&T studies in the same category were. In short, CS, SQ and
CV studies in both the H&T and business disciplines tended to rely on empirical reports, not
necessarily on strong theoretical applications.
Many established theories have been applied in the H&T studies in varying frequencies,
and Table I summarizes the theories, application frequencies and source references. Most
frequently applied was the expectancy disconfirmation theory (Oliver, 1980), as it was the
backbone of 10 per cent of all H&T studies reviewed, which translates into approximately 20
per cent of the H&T studies clearly grounded in any theory. This was logical, given the facts
that CS studies comprised the majority of the total number of H&T studies and that the CS
research stream was built mainly on expectancy disconfirmation theory (Oh and Parks,

Figure 1.
Outputs of CS, SQ and
CV research
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6
29,1

Table I.
IJCHM

theoretical
background
Summary of
Topic
CS SQ CV
Journals category Theory Source n (%) n (%) n (%) Total

H&T journals Expectancy disconfirmation theory Oliver (1980) 18 7.4 3 1.2 0 0.0 24 (9.9)
(n ⫽ 316, 130.6%) Equity theory Adams (1963) 9 3.7 4 1.7 1 0.4 17 (7.0)
SERVQUAL Parasuraman et al. (1988) 0 0.0 12 5.0 0 0.0 15 (6.2)
Three factor theory Kano (1984) 7 2.9 0 0.0 0 0.0 7 (2.9)
Stimulus-organism-response Mehrabian and Russel (1974) 2 0.8 2 0.8 1 0.4 5 (2.1)
Attribution theory Kelley (1967) 4 1.7 0 0.0 0 0.0 5 (2.1)
Theory of reasoned action Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) 2 0.8 1 0.4 1 0.4 5 (2.1)
Prospect theory Kahneman and Tversky (1979) 2 0.8 0 0.0 1 0.4 5 (2.1)
Social identity theory Tajfel and Turner (1986) 3 1.2 1 0.4 1 0.4 5 (2.1)
Two-factor theory Herzberg et al. (1959) 4 1.7 1 0.4 0 0.0 5 (2.1)
Means-end theory Gutman (1982) 0 0.0 1 0.4 1 0.4 4 (1.7)
Social exchange theory Homans (1958) 2 0.8 1 0.4 1 0.4 4 (1.7)
Business journals Expectancy disconfirmation theory Oliver (1980) 6 8.5 2 2.8 0 0.0 9 (12.7)
(n ⫽ 95, 133.8%) Prospect theory Kahneman and Tversky (1979) 5 7.0 1 1.4 0 0.0 6 (8.5)
Attribution theory Kelley (1967) 1 1.4 0 0.0 0 0.0 2 (2.8)
Social exchange theory Blau (1964) 1 1.4 0 0.0 0 0.0 2 (2.8)
Optimal arousal theory Berlyne (1960) 2 2.8 0 0.0 0 0.0 2 (2.8)
Social identity theory Tajfel and Turner (1986) 2 2.8 0 0.0 0 0.0 2 (2.8)

Notes: A total of 117 theories appeared in 313 individual studies reviewed, but the table reports only most frequently adopted theories; as some studies adopted
more than one theory for their theoretical background, multiple entries for those studies resulted in a total of 316 theories applied in related H&T research and 95
theories in business; entries in the table represent the frequency of appearance or application; they do not include those studies examining more than one of the three
concepts in the same study; the figures may not sum to the total because of multiple entry counting
1997). For instance, CS studies applied the expectancy disconfirmation theory for examining Customer
the direct function of disconfirmation on satisfaction (Bigné et al., 2005; Hui et al., 2007) and satisfaction
for developing a CS scale in a hospitality-specific context such as holiday satisfaction (Millan
and Esteban, 2004). Interestingly, three SQ studies also used it in their study design; this
could have happened due to the similarities in the specification of the key variables and
measurement models between the CS and SQ research traditions. No CV study applied the
expectancy disconfirmation theory. Equity theory (Adams, 1963) received applications in
7 per cent of all H&T studies in the descending frequency order of, topically, CS (4 per cent), 7
SQ (2 per cent) and CV (0.4 per cent). SERVQUAL (Parasuraman et al., 1988) was the major
framework in about 6.2 per cent of all H&T studies involving SQ as a key concept. Other less
frequently applied theories included the three-factor theory (Kano, 1984; 2.9 per cent of all
H&T studies or 5.7 per cent of the theory-embedded H&T studies), the stimulus– organism–
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response model (Mehrabian and Russell, 1974; 2.1 per cent), the attribution theory (Kelley,
1967; 2.1 per cent), the theory of reasoned action (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975; 2.1 per cent), the
prospect theory (Kahneman and Tversky, 1979; 2.1 per cent), the social identity theory
(Tajfel and Turner, 1986; 2.1 per cent), the two-factor theory (Herzberg et al., 1959; 2.1 per
cent), the means– end theory (Gutman, 1982; 1.7 per cent) and the social exchange theory
(Homans, 1958; 1.7 per cent).
The business studies showed similar diversities in applying various theories. The
expectancy disconfirmation theory (Oliver, 1980) appeared most frequently (13 per cent) as a
theoretical basis. Some researchers applied the expectancy disconfirmation theory to explain
the effect of assortment sizes (Diehl and Poynor, 2010), while others attempted to explain the
effects of individual characteristics such as disconfirmation sensitivity (Kopalle and
Lehmann, 2001) and goal setting (Cho and Johar, 2011) on CS based on the expectancy
disconfirmation theory. Studies also applied (9 per cent) the prospect theory (Kahneman and
Tversky, 1979), followed by a combined 3 per cent applying the attribution theory (Kelley,
1967), the social exchange theory (Blau, 1964), the optimal arousal theory (Berlyne, 1960) and
the social identity theory (Tajfel and Turner, 1986). Many other studies applied different
theories in much lesser frequencies. CS studies were most theory-laden of all (70 per cent or
higher), while both SQ and CV concepts rarely received theoretical investigations geared to
their own conceptual advances.

Conceptual models
The majority of H&T studies were empirical, involving a basic unit of a conceptual
relationship with at least one independent and one dependent variable. Of all 268 H&T
studies reported, 154 (57 per cent) formally proposed and tested at least one hypothesis, while
the average number of formally stated and tested hypotheses in these studies was 7.4 (both
median and mode ⫽ 7). Similarly, of the 134 business studies, 81 (60 per cent) formally stated
and tested at least one hypothesis, with an average of 5.5 such hypotheses (both median and
mode ⫽ 4). Both the H&T and business studies not belonging to this category still could have
empirically tested some forms of theoretical relationships, albeit informally, or otherwise be
conceptual, qualitative, case-based, etc. The pattern, along these two formal versus informal
categories, was essentially not different between the H&T and business disciplines (␹2 ⫽
0.33, p ⬵ 0.57).
Independent variable. A large number of variables or constructs appeared operational in
studies specifying key variables and conceptual models as summarized in Table II. Most
frequently (18 per cent), researchers adopted a multi-attribute model to specify various sets
of attributes as independent variables to measure such key concepts as CS, SQ or CV (Füller
and Matzler, 2008; Ryu and Han, 2010; Sparks et al., 2008). They often measured key concepts
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8
29,1

Table II.
IJCHM

variables used
Summary of key
Topic
CS SQ CV
Key variable n (%) n (%) n (%) Total

Independent variables
H&T journals (n ⫽ 471, 175.7%)
Service quality determinants/attributes 3 1.1 31 11.6 0 0.0 48 (17.9)
Service quality 4 1.5 11 4.1 2 0.7 35 (13.1)
Customer satisfaction 17 6.3 0 0.0 0 0.0 21 (7.8)
Attribute-level CS 18 6.7 0 0.0 0 0.0 19 (7.1)
Customer value 2 0.7 0 0.0 2 0.7 18 (6.7)
Price perception 4 1.5 0 0.0 1 0.4 15 (5.6)
Servicescape 5 1.9 3 1.1 1 0.4 11 (4.1)
Customer characteristics 6 2.2 1 0.4 0 0.0 9 (3.4)
Positive emotion 5 1.9 0 0.0 0 0.0 7 (2.6)
Business journals (n ⫽ 209, 157.1%)
Customer satisfaction 24 18.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 24 (18.0)
Expectation 14 10.6 3 2.3 0 0.0 17 (12.8)
Positive emotion 7 5.3 0 0.0 0 0.0 7 (5.3)
Service quality 1 0.8 2 1.5 0 0.0 7 (5.3)
Dependent variables
H&T journals (n ⫽ 480, 179.1%)
Customer satisfaction 94 35.1 8 3.0 1 0.4 143 (53.4)
Behavioral intention 25 9.3 6 2.2 2 0.7 60 (22.4)
Customer loyalty 29 10.8 5 1.9 2 0.7 48 (17.9)
Service quality 0 0.0 38 14.2 0 0.0 45 (16.8)
Customer value 2 0.7 3 1.1 13 4.9 36 (13.4)
Customer complaints 6 2.2 0 0.0 0 0.0 8 (3.0)
Business journals (n ⫽ 263, 197.7%)
Customer satisfaction 77 57.9 8 6.0 1 0.8 95 (71.4)
Behavioral intention 24 18.0 7 5.3 1 0.8 38 (28.6)
Service quality 7 5.3 4 3.0 0 0.0 13 (9.8)
Customer loyalty 5 3.8 2 1.5 0 0.0 13 (9.8)
Customer value 0 0.0 0 0.0 3 2.3 13 (9.8)
(continued)
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Topic
CS SQ CV
Key variable n (%) n (%) n (%) Total

Firm performance 5 3.8 0 0.0 0 0.0 5 (3.8)


Brand preference 5 3.8 0 0.0 0 0.0 5 (3.8)
Choice 5 3.8 0 0.0 0 0.0 5 (3.8)
Attribution 5 3.8 0 0.0 0 0.0 5(3.8)
Positive emotion 3 2.3 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (3.0)
Mediators
H&T journals (n ⫽ 197, 175.9%)
Customer satisfaction 35 31.2 1 0.9 0 0.0 70 (62.5)
Customer value 4 3.6 1 0.9 5 4.5 24 (21.4)
Positive emotion 9 8.0 1 0.9 0 0.0 12 (10.7)
Service quality 2 1.8 2 1.8 0 0.0 9 (8.0)
Negative emotion 8 7.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 9 (8.0)
Customer loyalty 3 2.7 0 0.0 1 0.9 5 (4.5)
Business journals (n ⫽ 66, 157.1%)
Customer satisfaction 5 11.9 2 4.8 0 0.0 11 (26.2)
Customer value 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 2.4 5 (11.9)
Attribution 4 9.5 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (9.5)
Service quality 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 3 (7.1)
Outcome expectations 3 7.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 3 (7.1)
Emotions associated with payment 3 7.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 3 (7.1)
Expectation disconfirmation 3 7.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 3 (7.1)
Moderators
H&T journals (n ⫽ 60, 125%)
Type of industry/industry segment 3 6.2 2 4.2 0 0.0 6 (12.5)
Price 1 2.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 5 (10.4)
Gender 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 3 (6.2)
Age 1 2.1 1 2.1 0 0.0 3 (6.2)
Business journals (n ⫽ 108, 136.7%)
Familiarity 6 7.6 2 2.5 0 0.0 8 (10.1)
Market/industry characteristics 7 8.9 0 0.0 0 0.0 8 (10.1)
Emotion/affect 5 6.3 1 1.3 0 0.0 6 (7.6)
(continued)
9

Table II.
satisfaction
Customer
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10
29,1

Table II.
IJCHM

Topic
CS SQ CV
Key variable n (%) n (%) n (%) Total

Previous experience/exposure 4 5.1 2 2.5 0 0.0 6 (7.6)


Switching costs 5 6.3 0 0.0 0 0.0 5 (6.3)
Consumption goal 4 5.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (5.1)
Loyalty membership 3 3.8 1 1.3 0 0.0 4(5.1)
Time 2 2.5 2 2.5 0 0.0 4 (5.1)
Control variables
H&T journals (n ⫽ 74, 296.0
Gender 6 24.0 3 12.0 0 0.0 11 (44.0)
Age 5 20.0 2 8.0 1 4.0 10 (40.0)
Previous experience 5 20.0 0 0.0 1 4.0 7 (28.0)
Education 3 12.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 5 (20.0)
Income 2 8.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (16.0)
Industry segment 3 12.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (16.0)
Service capability 0 0.0 4 16.0 0 0.0 4 (16.0)
Travel purpose 1 4.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 2 (8.0)
Product type 2 8.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 2 (8.0)
Business journals (n ⫽ 86, 238.9%)
Age 5 13.9 0 0.0 0 0.0 6 (16.7)
Firm size 5 13.9 0 0.0 0 0.0 5 (13.9)
Gender 3 8.3 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (11.1)
Previous experience 4 11.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (11.1)
Choice/task difficulty 4 11.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (11.1)
R&D intensity/investment 4 11.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (11.1)
Advertising intensity 4 11.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (11.1)
Choice outcomes 4 11.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (11.1)
External chooser 4 11.1 0 0.0 0 0.0 4 (11.1)

Note: As the majority of the studies contained more than one variable, we used multiple coding; the row total may not match the sum of CS, SQ and CV columns,
as the table does not include the studies that examined a combination of more than one concept
at the attribute level and related such attribute-level perceptions to the global constructs that Customer
were essentially meant to define the same phenomenon. For example, CS or SQ were satisfaction
measured using a set of attributes (e.g. SERVQUAL), and these attribute-level performance
perceptions were used as the independent variables to predict their respective global
constructs of CS or SQ (Fu and Parks, 2001; Ho and Lee, 2007; Žabkar et al., 2010). This
approach was most popular for SQ research (12 per cent) in particular. The concept of SQ was
the next most frequent independent variable applied (13 per cent), followed by CS (7.8 per
cent), attribute-level CS measures (7.1 per cent), CV (6.7 per cent), perceived price (5.6 per
11
cent), servicescape (4.1 per cent), customer characteristics (3.4 per cent), positive emotion (2.6
per cent) and so on. Regardless of their level of specification (i.e. attribute vs global), CS and
SQ dominated as the independent variables in various research formulations and models.
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Variable specification in business research was significantly different from that in H&T
research. CS was solely dominant as an independent variable (18 per cent), followed
somewhat distantly by some concepts of expectation (13 per cent), positive emotion (5.3 per
cent) and SQ (5.3 per cent). Notably, CS as an independent variable appeared in CS studies
only, but in neither SQ nor CV studies. The popular multi-attribute approach to formulating
independent variables in H&T studies was absent in business research. While CS studies
used a variety of independent variables including those described above, SQ and CV studies
varied significantly less in both study frequency and variable diversity. While some
variables like expectations, SQ and service outcome appeared as independent variables in
SQ-focused studies, SERVQUAL was neither a topic nor a framework for any business SQ
study.
Dependent variable. Dependent variables or constructs showed some diversity, but
substantively less so than independent variables. Most prominent as the dependent variable
in H&T studies was CS (53 per cent), followed distantly by behavioral intention (22 per cent),
customer loyalty (18 per cent), SQ (17 per cent), CV (13 per cent) and customer complaint
(3 per cent). More specifically, CS was the key dependent variable (35 per cent) in CS studies,
while customer loyalty (11 per cent) and behavioral intention (9 per cent) also made entry as
dependent variables less frequently. SQ was the most frequently used dependent variable
(14 per cent) in SQ studies, while CV was the case in CV studies (about 5 per cent). Clearly,
other than CS, SQ and CV themselves, behavioral intention and, to a weaker extent, loyalty
were the most prevalent dependent variables in H&T research.
Related business research documented CS as a mainstay dependent variable. At least
three-quarters of all reviewed studies had CS as a key dependent variable, perhaps due
largely to the prevalence of CS-focused studies compared to those focused on SQ or CV. CS
was a key dependent variable in at least 58 per cent of CS and 6 per cent of SQ studies.
Behavioral intention followed CS, to a much lower degree, as a key dependent variable in
about 29 per cent of the studies, trailed by SQ in 10 per cent, customer loyalty in 9.8 per cent
and CV in 9.8 per cent. Other dependent variables appeared significantly less (3.8 per cent or
lower) and included rather study-specific concepts such as firm performance, brand
preference, choice, attribution, positive emotion and so forth. Again, given the fact that 81 per
cent of all reviewed business studies were CS-focused, these variable distributions were
driven mainly by CS studies.
Key mediators. Studies and models often involve variables other than independent and
dependent variables. In general, any variable playing a substantive role in the relationship
between the independent and dependent variables can be either a mediator or a moderator
(Baron and Kenny, 1986; Hayes, 2013). These intervening variables can be multiple in a
model, making the relationship structures more difficult to understand even if these
variables are introduced to provide additional explanations about the relationship between
IJCHM the independent and dependent variables. Ninety-nine H&T studies (counting multiple
29,1 entries) included various mediator variables, with the most frequent being CS (63 per cent),
followed by CV (21 per cent), positive emotion (11 per cent), SQ (8.0 per cent), negative
emotion (8.0 per cent) and customer loyalty (4.5 per cent), for example (the list is not
exhaustive, as many resulted in an ignorable frequency). Such inclusion of mediators took
place predominantly in CS-focused studies (48 per cent or higher, compared to 4-18 per cent
12 for SQ or CV studies). In contrast, 29 business studies, driven by CS-focused studies (60 per
cent or higher, compared to 6-19 per cent for SQ-focused studies), showed a further spread of
mediators across CS (26 per cent), CV (12 per cent), attribution (10 per cent), SQ (7.1 per cent),
outcome expectations (7.1 per cent), emotions associated with payment (7.1 per cent) and
expectation disconfirmation (7.1 per cent). On average, the number of mediators in the
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research models was 1.9 for H&T studies and 1.8 for business studies, respectively.
Key moderators. H&T studies involving moderators were much less frequent than those
including mediators. As moderators are often introduced to explain how the nature of the
relationship between the independent and dependent variables changes under certain
conditions, moderation propositions are difficult at times to conceptualize and, once
empirically proven, they tend to define the boundaries of the applied theory. Thus,
moderation research is highly desirable from a practical and a conceptual standpoint. The 46
H&T studies that included moderation analysis used 1.3 moderators, on average, and these
moderators included type of industry or industry segment (13 per cent), price (10 per cent),
gender (6.2 per cent) and age (6.2 per cent). To a lesser frequency, other moderators were
education, previous experience, switching costs, servicescape, service provider’s stereotype,
involvement, expectation and type of attribute. Similar to mediation analysis, most
moderation analyses were part of CS-oriented studies (40 per cent or higher, compared to
about 14-28 per cent for SQ studies).
In business research, 46 studies investigated moderation with an average number of 1.7
moderators per study. The most frequent moderators were familiarity (also translated into
expertise or knowledge, 10 per cent) and market or industry characteristics such as
convenience, competitiveness and concentration (10 per cent), followed by emotion or affect
(7.6 per cent), previous experience or exposure (7.6 per cent), switching costs (6.3 per cent),
consumption goal (5.1 per cent), loyalty membership (5.1 per cent) and time (5.1 per cent).
Less frequent moderators included expectation, income, attributed responsibility (i.e.
company vs customer), choice or task difficulty and differentiability of options. Mainly
CS-focused studies (85 per cent, compared to 13 per cent for SQ-focused studies) led the effort
to design and test moderation effects.
Key control variables. Researchers often include control variables in an effort to account
for the shared variance in the focal relationship(s) that was not part of planned observations
in the research design (Breaugh, 2005; Carlson and Wu, 2011). A small proportion of H&T
studies (22) used an average of 3.09 control variables in their analyses. Gender was the most
frequent control variable (44 per cent), trailed by age (40 per cent), previous experience (28 per
cent), education (20 per cent), income (16 per cent), industry segment (16 per cent), service
capability (16 per cent), travel purpose (8 per cent) and product type (8 per cent). Meanwhile,
25 business studies used an average of 3.0 control variables including age (17 per cent), firm
size (14 per cent), gender (11 per cent), previous experience (4.0 per cent), choice or task
difficulty (11 per cent), R&D intensity or investment (11 per cent), advertising intensity (11
per cent), choice outcomes (11 per cent) and other external factors (11 per cent). For both H&T
and business research, CS-focused studies dominated analyses with control variables (55 per
cent or higher for H&T and 95 per cent or higher for business studies).
Methodological practice Customer
Industry covered satisfaction
The H&T studies covered various industry segments as the study context. Across all three
topical areas, researchers investigated most often the lodging industry (31 per cent),
foodservice industry including restaurants and university dining (27 per cent) and tourism
and destinations (25 per cent). Other less studied industry contexts included casinos (3.7 per
cent), airlines (2.6 per cent), timeshare (1.9 per cent) and events and festivals (1.1 per cent).
Note that the journals selected for our review could have affected these figures. More 13
specifically, 58 per cent of the studies examined the purchase decisions of customers (hotel/
restaurant customers, festival participants, event goers, gamblers, etc.), while 29 per cent
inquired particularly about travel decision-making. Some additional targets of study were
decisions or perceptions related to employment (6.7 per cent), company/property (1.9 per
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cent), owners or CEOs (1.5 per cent) and managers (1.5 per cent).
The majority of business studies (37 per cent) examined specific situations through their
experiments. Retailing, in both brick-and-mortar and e-tail forms, shared 25 per cent, while
the service industry provided 23 per cent of study contexts. Other less popular study
contexts included the foodservice industry (4.5 per cent), events and festivals (3.7 per cent),
airlines (2.2 per cent) and other hospitality industry segments (2.2 per cent). Almost all
business studies examined some purchase-related decisions of customers in service or retail
contexts, while an ignorable fraction of them included company brands and employees.

Study design and sampling


The mode of study design often establishes the tradition of research for journals and the field
while also providing means for theoretical progress for the field in particular directions. For
H&T studies, survey was the most dominant mode of research design (80 per cent).
Experiment (5.2 per cent) and secondary data (4.9 per cent) methods followed survey
distantly. Other modes of research in use were interviews (1.9 per cent), conceptual paper (1.5
per cent), meta-analysis (0.7 per cent), case study (0.7 per cent) and content analysis (0.7 per
cent). In contrast, business studies relied more heavily on experimental methods (57 per cent)
than survey (25 per cent). Other far less frequent modes of research were secondary data (6.7
per cent), longitudinal panels (3.7 per cent), longitudinal secondary data (2.2 per cent), critical
incident technique (1.5 per cent) and conceptual paper (1.5 per cent). As Oh and Parks (1997)
also provided a similar observation and urged more experiments, surveys seem to be the
mainstay of research methods for these topics, perhaps because the majority of previous
studies tended to focus on applying the frameworks to real-world situations rather than
theory building.
The type of sample tended to concentrate on customers or tourists. Nearly 44 per cent of
H&T studies sampled customers of hospitality companies, and this number augmented to
almost three-quarters if tourists (29 per cent) counted into the category. Other sample types
included employees (6.0 per cent), students (4.1 per cent), properties/companies (3.4 per cent),
business owners (1.5 per cent), hospitality managers or supervisors (1.1 per cent), etc. In
business studies, customers, loyalty members or visitors comprised 46 per cent of all sample
types, while students were the next popular sample type (40 per cent), as they were used
mostly in experimental studies. A smaller fraction of studies sampled properties or
companies (7.5 per cent) and both customers and employees (1.5 per cent).
In terms of the sample size, there were no significant differences between hospitality
journal and business journal (t ⫽ 0.72, p ⫽ 0.47). For empirical studies, the average sample
size was large, especially for CS-focused research, across both the H&T and business studies.
For example, CS-focused H&T studies used an average sample size of 2,649 (SD ⫽ 10,814),
IJCHM while SQ-focused studies used a mean sample size of 456 (SD ⫽ 1,021). CV-focused H&T
29,1 studies also used an unusually large average sample size of 6,863 (SD ⫽ 25,581). Such large
sample sizes for CS and CV studies were due primarily to some studies using a national-level
database such as American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI; Fornell et al., 1996).
However, the mean sample sizes should be interpreted carefully because the distribution of
sample sizes was not normal and it was skewed extremely toward some outlying sizes. When
14 we examined survey-only H&T studies, the average sample size was 1,194 (SD ⫽ 5,620) for
CS, 404 (SD ⫽ 540) for SQ and 943 (SD⫽ 877) for CV studies. H&T studies using secondary
data had an average sample size of 13,187 (SD ⫽ 25,480) for CS and 2,599 (SD ⫽ 4,489) for SQ
studies.
The average sample size for the business studies was also large for the CS-focused
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studies in particular. While the overall average sample size was 2,448 (SD ⫽ 14,506), it
was 2,785 (SD ⫽ 15,982) for CS-focused, 527 (SD ⫽ 625) for SQ-focused and 390 (SD ⫽
167) for CV-focused-only studies. When we examined survey-only studies separately, the
overall sample size was 8,105 (SD ⫽ 28,167), while it was 13,450 (SD ⫽ 36,591) for CS,
1,129 (SD ⫽ 701) for SQ and 390 (SD ⫽ 167) for CV studies. Only eight CS studies used
secondary data, and the sample size was 1,389 (SD ⫽ 1,317) on average. Again, caution
is needed in reading these figures derived from non-normally distributed data due to
many outliers as we explained above.

Scaling
The H&T studies tended to rely frequently on Likert-type scales to measure the target
variables and constructs. The largest number of studies (21 per cent) used a seven-point
scale, with the scale points labeled from extremely/strongly disagree to extremely/strongly
agree. Other relatively less popular measurement scales were a five-point, extremely/very
satisfied-dissatisfied scale (17 per cent), a five-point Likert scale (12 per cent) and a
seven-point Likert scale (11 per cent). Some other studies used a 10-point rating scale
anchored with varying labels such as poor-excellent, very low-high and very
satisfied-dissatisfied (4.5 per cent); a 7-point semantic differential scale (3.4 per cent); a
7-point very dissatisfied-satisfied scale; a 5-point poor-excellent scale; and an 11-point 0-100
unnumbered slider scale.
The business studies also used a variety of measurement scales. Most frequent was a
7-point Likert scale labeled with strongly disagree-agree (29 per cent), followed by an
unnumbered slider (0-100) scale (16 per cent); a 9-point strongly agree/disagree scale (10 per
cent); 10-point rating scales anchored with poor-excellent, very low– high or very
dissatisfied–satisfied (5.2 per cent); a 7-point strongly dissatisfied–satisfied scale (4.5 per
cent); a 9-point, bipolar scale labeled with satisfied/positive/favorable to dissatisfied/
negative/unfavorable (3.7 per cent); and a 11-point scale anchored with extremely poor-good
or completely disagree-agree (3.0 per cent).
Researchers measured CS, SQ and CV concepts in mainly two different ways. In one
approach, they measured them as a summary construct with multiple indicator items. In this
case, hospitality researchers used, on average, 3.2 items for the CS (SD ⫽ 2.1), 4.0 items for SQ
(SD ⫽ 2.4) and 3.8 items for CV (SD ⫽ 2.0) constructs. Business researchers used 2.8 items for
the CS (SD ⫽ 1.8), 6.9 for SQ (SD ⫽ 2.3) and 4.3 for CV (SD ⫽ 1.6) constructs.
In the other approach to measure the three key concepts, researchers operationalized
these concepts multidimensionally and measured each dimension by using multiple items.
SERVQUAL was a case in point, for example. In this approach, H&T studies used, on
average, 8.6 items for CS, 21.6 for SQ and 11.5 for CV. In contrast, the number of measurement
items for business studies was significantly different with 3.22 for the CS, 13 for SQ and 15 Customer
for CV concept. satisfaction

Quality assurance
To understand the extent of disciplinary efforts on assuring rigor in research practice, we
examined whether studies included the procedures and analyses that could support the main
analyses. To this end, we reviewed four aspects wherever applicable: pretests, validity 15
checks, reliability analyses and rival model analyses.
Pretests. Researchers often use various pretests to assure, for example, the workability of
the research design, face validity of research questions and/or measurement integrity
(Anderson and Gerbing, 1991). Pretests may be in the form of expert reviews, pilot
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administration of the survey or experiment or preliminary analyses of subsamples. Of the


228 applicable H&T studies, 82 (39 per cent) reported either the results or procedures of
pretests they conducted. This number was significantly higher than that for business
studies, of which only 19 (17 per cent) studies reported such results or procedures. At times,
some business studies, especially experimental ones, simply mentioned that part of their
study design relied upon pretest results without providing relevant details.
Validity. While philosophically difficult to establish validity of any study procedure and
outcome, validity in practice refers to the degree to which a test or an instrument measures
what it is purported to measure (Peter, 1981). Most studies used more than one type of
validity checks once they intended to conduct one. Nearly one out of two H&T studies (48 per
cent) did not explicitly report any validity check. Of the remaining H&T studies reporting on
validity, 77 per cent clearly reported results of construct validity covering both convergent
and discriminant validity analyses. Note that convergent and discriminant validities are
applicable typically in multivariate research in which the researcher measures more than one
variable (or construct) with more than one item within the same modeling framework. Thus,
studies using a univariate approach are not reflected in these figures. Less frequently
reported were content validity (10 per cent), face validity (5.2 per cent), nomological validity
(3.1 per cent), criterion validity (2.1 per cent) and predictive validity (1.7 per cent).
Validity analysis in the business studies was not so prevalent. Nearly two-thirds (72 per
cent) of them did not include validity checks, perhaps because many of them were
experimental studies using widely adopted measurement scales. Other relevant studies
reporting their results of construct validity analyses consisted of those reporting on
discriminant validity (55 per cent), convergent validity (28 per cent), face validity (4.7 per
cent), criterion validity (4.7 per cent), predictive validity (4.7 per cent) and nomological
validity (3.1 per cent).
Reliability. Researchers often question how well their measurement tool will reproduce the
same results. In that sense, reliability refers to the degree to which an assessment tool
produces stable and consistent results (Peter, 1979). The most frequently reported reliability
check in the 200 relevant H&T studies was through Cronbach’s alpha (66 per cent), followed
by composite reliability (29 per cent), inter-rater reliability (3.1 per cent), split-half reliability
(1.6 per cent) and test–retest reliability (0.4 per cent). Studies with no explicit report on
reliability checks amounted to 25 per cent (n ⫽ 68). Of the 89 relevant business studies, 76 per
cent reported on Cronbach’s alpha, 15 per cent composite reliability and 9.7 per cent
inter-rater reliability, while nearly 34 per cent (n ⫽ 45) contained no explicit report on
reliability analysis.
Rival models. Conceptually, one of a few necessary conditions for establishing the
presence of causality in a relationship is to rule out competing explanations for the same
relationship phenomenon (Hayes, 2013). To this end, researchers often test the tenability of
IJCHM rival or competing models, especially in both regression and structural equation modeling
29,1 (SEM) contexts. Of the 178 relevant individual H&T studies, only 23 (13 per cent) explicitly
tested and discussed the rival models. In the case of 74 business studies, only 15 (20 per cent)
fell into this category.

Analysis and software


16 We examined the type of analysis and software used in the related research, as these could
mirror the tradition of research methods in the field. Of the relevant empirical H&T studies,
85 per cent provided descriptive statistics in either texts or tables including frequencies,
means, standard deviations and others. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and exploratory
factor analyses were about equally recurrent (45 vs 41 per cent) in all relevant H&T studies,
while regression (including a small number of studies using hierarchical linear modeling)
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analysis was the next popular method of analysis (33 per cent). Other less frequent analyses
included t-test (14 per cent), analysis of variance (ANOVA, 13 per cent), content analysis (4.9
per cent), multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA, 4.9 per cent) and chi-square test (4.1
per cent).
The business studies showed a slightly different analysis pattern. Descriptive analyses
appeared in 48 per cent of the relevant business studies, while ANOVA (46 per cent),
regression (44 per cent) and CFA/SEM (33.6 per cent) followed closely in their usage. Other
substantially less frequent analyses included EFA (13 per cent), analysis of covariance
(ANCOVA, 9.0 per cent), chi-square test (6.7 per cent) and t-test (6.0 per cent). Due perhaps to
the relatively large proportion of experimental studies, business studies tended to use the
ANOVA and regression approaches more often than did the H&T studies that relied heavily
on the survey approach.
The type of analysis software used was concentrated around a few. About 20 per cent of
the H&T studies reported use of SPSS, followed by 14 per cent reporting use of LISREL, 11
per cent AMOS, 3.0 per cent EQS, 2.2 per cent Smart PLS and 1.5 per cent Mplus. The
business studies contained 82 per cent not specifying use of any software, 10 per cent
reporting use of LISREL, 2.2 per cent SAS and 1.5 per cent EQS. Apparently, researchers
tended to skip specifying the type of software used and rather focus on discussing the type
of analysis and results in more recent years, especially in business research.

Results
Descriptive statistics
The H&T studies tended to provide a good amount of descriptive information. The majority
of them (82 per cent) reported either extensive details on sample characteristics in texts or
tables. Although 31 per cent omitted reporting means and standard deviations of key
measures, 60 per cent reported both means and standard deviations, while 9 per cent did only
means without standard deviations. The number of studies providing a sample correlation
(or covariance in some CFA/SEM studies) matrix of the key independent and dependent
measures was larger than that not reporting. Once they reported means and standard
deviations, they also tended to provide a sample correlation matrix (p ⬍ 0.05, 32 per cent);
this is perhaps because many CFA/SEM studies customarily provided either a covariance
matrix (with the sample size information) or more often a correlations matrix which then
necessitated information on means and standard deviations of the measures for the purpose
of reproducing the data matrix.
In contrast, the majority (79 per cent) of business studies did not provide detailed
descriptions of their samples. Studies providing information on means and standard
deviations of key measures totaled 40 per cent, while 44 per cent provided only mean values
without standard deviations and 16 per cent neither. Only 27 per cent of the business studies
supplied a sample correlation matrix. Other than those not reporting either means/standard Customer
deviations or a sample correlation matrix, the largest number of studies (43 per cent) satisfaction
provided information on only mean values of key measures. Again, a heavy reliance on an
experimental approach could have resulted in this contrasting difference for the business
studies from H&T studies.

Key findings 17
In theoretical research, key findings naturally revolve around the number and content of the
proposed and confirmed hypotheses. In the H&T studies, the mean number of the proposed
research hypotheses was 7.4 (SD ⫽ 4.6) of which 5.9 (SD ⫽ 3.6) were eventually supported
with empirical evidence; hence, the confirmation rate was 81 per cent (SD ⫽ 21 per cent). In
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SEM studies, the structural relations typically translate into research hypotheses; the
average number of structural relations in H&T SEM models was 6.2 (SD ⫽ 4.8). In business
studies, the mean number of the proposed hypotheses was 5.5 (SD ⫽ 4.6), of which 4.5 (SD ⫽
3.8) achieved empirical support, at an acceptance rate of 91 per cent (SD ⫽ 15 per cent). The
mean number of structural relations in SEM studies only was 12 (SD ⫽ 11), indicating SEM
models appearing in business studies tended to be more complex than those appearing in
H&T studies; the number of the structural relationships included in the business SEM
models was nearly twice as many as that in the H&T SEM models. Caution is in order for
comparing the size of the SEM models by the number of structural relations because the
number is contingent upon how the model is specified. Some may specify direct effects in
addition to indirect effects, while others may constrain the relationships to be only indirect,
for example.
Reviewing more than 300 articles published on CS, SQ and CV in both H&T and business
journals over the past 15-16 years, we detected a number of noticeable findings and trends. In
general, H&T studies endeavored applying the existing CS and SQ frameworks to various
segments of the H&T industry, often with minor modifications to fit the study context
(Akbaba, 2006; Yoon and Ekinci, 2003). Noticeable also was their attempt to expand the
existing framework (e.g. SERVQUAL, Gronroos, 1988’s model) to complement the weakness
of the applied model (Getty and Getty, 2003; Giritlioglu et al., 2014; Reichel et al., 2000).
Another body of studies attempted to develop new scales by following the scale development
process (Bastič and Gojcic, 2012; Caro and Garcia, 2008). The business studies, in contrast,
tended to focus on validating the workability of the existing models through longitudinal
and Big Data applications (Cooil et al., 2007; Van Doorn and Verhoef, 2008; Voss et al., 2010).
They also examined boundary conditions of key concepts and relationships and the
implications of the existing models for firm-level performance. Table III provides a summary
of our findings and we discuss them here more specifically.
H&T findings. First, since Oh and Parks (1997) provided a similar review of the related
research, the straight application frequency of SERVQUAL has diminished in more recent
years. Researchers questioned the validity of how SQ was conceptualized in the SERVQUAL
model (Brown et al., 1993; Cronin and Taylor, 1994; Teas, 1994), which led to avoiding a
straight application of the SERVQUAL model, but instead to measuring SQ rather as a
summary construct in relation to other similar constructs such as CS and CV. In short,
operationalizing the Gap model (Parasuraman et al., 1985) into an arithmetic performance-
minus-expectation-based SERVQUAL model has lost support in the literature, although the
concept of SQ itself has maintained its significance in the service research literature.
Second, while the performance-minus-expectation operationalization of SQ has gradually
disappeared from the literature, H&T researchers still have applied the SERVQUAL
measurement items to various service contexts or industry segments such as casino (Jeon et al.,
IJCHM Journals category Key findings
29,1
H&T journal Lost support for the gap-based SERVQUAL model
Continued applications of the SERVQUAL measurement items in various industry
segments (e.g. lodging, F&B, casino, event and tourism) and countries (e.g. Asia,
Europe and Africa)
Additional attempts to develop new SQ scale/model by adding context-specific
18 attributes or adopting hierarchical approach
Reconceptualization of the IPA approach by integrating other constructs such as three-
factor theory, competitive zone of tolerance, importance-satisfaction analysis,
importance-performance and gap analysis
Expanded antecedents of SQ than SERVQUAL-derived dimensions, including
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organizational culture/support, leadership, service process, price, etc.


Relatively continued growth of CS research with more comprehensive and practical
applications, while still lacking theoretical progress
Theoretical and practical integration of the CS research with SQ and CV models in an
attempt to examine their relative impact on customer evaluations of the service
Unresolved role of SQ in relation to CS, especially with regard to a reciprocal causal
order between SQ and CS
CV losing a noticeable stream of research activities
Tendency to measure SQ, CS and CV constructs at the global rather than attribute
levels
Popular topic:
Antecedents of CS at the firm level (e.g. employee job satisfaction, work-family conflict
and sustainable business practice) and individual level (e.g. emotions, customer
demographics, perceived justice, culture, perceived risk and motivation)
Outcomes of service failure and recovery other than CS (e.g. WOM, trust, emotions and
switching behavior)
Exploration of multi-dimensionality of CS, SQ, CV as antecedents
Business journal Theoretical and practical progress via cross-sectional and longitudinal application (e.g.
national-scale research
Incorporation with SQ and CV concepts
Decreased use of multi-dimensional, multi-attribute models; instead, stronger interests
in measuring concepts at the summary level (high abstraction) with a growth of the
SEM approach
Increased efforts to collect dyadic data (e.g. customer-employee interaction)
Popular topic:
Service failure and recovery strategies (e.g. determinants, outcomes, severity, etc.)
Implications of high CS for firm-level performance (e.g. financial performance,
employee job satisfaction, customer relationship management, etc.)
Boundary-spanning research (e.g. boundary conditions for CS having no impact on
Table III. repurchase behavior)
Summary of key Redefinition of the role of expectations as a direct determinant or as an indirect
findings moderator of CS

2013; Prentice, 2013; Shi et al., 2014), lodging (Akbaba, 2006; Nadiri and Hussain, 2005; Yoon and
Ekinci, 2003), food and beverage operations (Fu and Parks, 2001; Nam and Lee, 2011), tourism
(Ekinci et al., 2003; Khan, 2003), airline (Gilbert and Wong, 2003; Tsaur et al., 2002) and others. In
addition, SERVQUAL and its extensions appeared in application across cultural borders
including Asia (Chang et al., 2010; Hsieh et al., 2008), Europe (Antony et al., 2004; Ekinci et al.,
2003; Koyuncu et al., 2014; Nadiri and Hussain, 2005) and Africa (Akama and Kieti, 2003). These
application and extension attempts relied mostly on adding additional measurement attributes to
SERVQUAL to capture context-specific SQ performance. According to Carrillat et al.’s (2009)
meta-analysis of SQ studies, using SERVPERF (i.e. performance-only SERVQUAL) reduces the
strength of the effect of SQ on CS compared to SERVQUAL, especially when the scale is not Customer
adapted to the study context. Our review revealed that most H&T SQ studies were highly satisfaction
context-specific and, thus, could increase the effect size of SQ when predicting CS. In most recent
SQ studies, researchers adopted operationalizing SQ through direct ratings by the study
participants or customers rather than computing the SQ scores arithmetically ad hoc.
Apparently, these changes often resulted in different dimensionalities of SQ beyond the original
SERVQUAL-based SQ dimensionality which was questioned for reliability by other researchers
(Babakus and Boller, 1992; Babakus and Mangold, 1992; Carman, 1990). Instead of merely using
19
the original or modified versions of SERVQUAL, some researchers developed industry-specific
scales/model in various contexts such as E-travel (Ho and Lee, 2007), travel agency (Caro and
Garcia, 2008), rural tourism (Albacete-Saez et al., 2007), eco-component (Bastič and Gojcic, 2012),
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casino (Wong and Fong, 2012) and so on. In addition, some researchers adopted a hierarchical
approach to measuring multidimensional constructs of SQ (Brady and Cronin, 2001; Caro and
Garcia, 2008; Gazzoli et al., 2010). Researchers also attempted to apply importance–performance
analysis (IPA) to SQ research for prioritizing services for quality improvement; they did so by
re-conceptualizing the IPA approach and incorporating into it such other concepts as three-factor
theory (Deng, 2007), competitive zone of tolerance (Chen, 2014), importance–satisfaction analysis
(Tonge and Moore, 2007) and importance–performance and gap analysis (Cheng et al., 2012)
Third, as the SQ concept and its measurement drew attention more at the global than
attribute levels recently, a notable line of research has been to integrate the SQ concept into
other existing models of, say, CS and CV that could address similarly the performance of
service organizations (Baker and Crompton, 2000; Clemes et al., 2010; Lai, 2015). Oh (1999)
argued for such an integration for some theoretical and practical reasons. Conceptually, for
example, SQ is likely to share a large amount of variance with similar concepts like CS and
CV, especially when these variables are used to evaluate the same service performance.
Understanding the shared variance among variables is an important goal in defining
theories and developing assessment tools for practical applications. The concept of SQ has
been used in the CS and CV frameworks as a key independent or dependent variable in
predicting future purchase or purchase intention, which again gives both theoretical and
practical reasons for an integration. Nonetheless, no single mainstream theoretical source
has yet appeared to reinforce such an integration attempt.
Fourth, CS research continued being more comprehensive and practically applied, albeit
not so theoretically progressing. With the waning of the SERVQUAL-based approach, the
SQ concept tended to find a place in the CS research program as an overall summary variable
and its relation to the CS and other concepts (Kim et al., 2009; Žabkar et al., 2010). CS research
also started incorporating the CV concept in its operational models (Fornell et al., 1996;
Williams and Soutar, 2009), even if CV had its own tradition of model specification (Monroe
and Chapman, 1987;Woodruff, 1997). In fact, it was the CS research that integrated both SQ
and CV into its conceptual model. CS researchers also attempted to understand CS at the firm
level and at the individual customer level. At the firm level, they attempted to relate how CS
is affected by employee satisfaction with the firm’s service climate, organizational culture,
sales promotion, work–family conflict, sustainable practice, brand personality, etc. (Berezan
et al., 2013; He et al., 2011; Lee et al., 2009; Zhao et al., 2014). Individual-level CS research also
expanded to embrace not only the results of expectancy disconfirmation but also other
concepts such as emotions (arousal, pleasure and affect), customer demographics, perceived
justice, culture, image congruence, perceived risk, personality traits, place attachment and
motivation, to name a few (Chang, 2008; Jin Hoare and Butcher, 2008; Karatepe, 2006; Lin and
Worthley, 2012; Mattila, 2001; Yoon and Uysal, 2005; Yuksel et al., 2010). Another couple of
popular extensions of CS research relate to the impact of service failure and recovery on CS
IJCHM and other outcomes of CS than loyalty and repurchase (intention) such as trust, emotions,
29,1 word of mouth and switching behavior (Dutta et al., 2007; Mattila and Ro, 2008;
Sánchez-García and Currás-Pérez, 2011; Swanson and Hsu, 2011).
Away from the SERVQUAL approach, SQ research conceptualizing SQ as a summary
variable endeavored to understand other key antecedents of SQ than the
SERVQUAL-derived dimensions. Such antecedents included organizational culture,
20 employee empowerment, coworker support, leadership, employee training, tip size, service
process, price and brand awareness (Davidson, 2003; Dhar, 2015; Koyuncu et al., 2014; Lynn
and Sturman, 2010; Oh, 2000; Susskind et al., 2007; Ye et al., 2014). Along with these
extensions, researchers also questioned the role of SQ in relation to CS; that is, some
researchers modeled SQ as an antecedent of CS, while others did it as a consequence of CS
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(Brady et al., 2005; Clemes et al., 2010; Lai, 2015; McCollough, 2000; Mentzer et al., 2001).
Theories were unavailable to determine the causal order between SQ and CS properly,
although it seemed that the order depended critically upon how the two concepts were
operationalized in the research program (e.g. measuring at high vs low abstractions) and how
the firm formulated its CS- or SQ-related goals (e.g. short-term vs long-term focus on either
CS or SQ).
Finally, research on CV itself failed to draw a noticeable a stream of research activities in
the past 20 years. Although CV research had a distinctly operationalized model with
potential for theoretical richness and practical applications (Monroe and Chapman, 1987; Rao
and Monroe, 1989), its frequency of appearance ended in a weak follow-through. A probable
reason is its operational formulation grounded deeply in an economic, rational approach to
consumer decision-making, in which consumers were viewed to form their buying intention
as a result of rational comparisons between what they would get (i.e. quality) to what they
had to sacrifice (i.e. price). In the past 20 years or so, behavioral research across various
scientific fields was moving toward incorporating human emotions in decision-making. It
seems that the CV framework was not attractive enough to support such a trend in research,
thereby losing a firm ground.
Business findings. Unlike H&T research, business research, especially on CS, progressed
generally toward much broader cross-sectional and longitudinal applications. National-scale
research programs like the ACSI (Fornell et al., 1996) was a driving force in such massive and
longitudinal investigations. SERVQUAL-based SQ research, however, no longer made entry
to the business journals and, likewise, CV-focused studies have become rare. CS research
models tended to incorporate both the SQ and CV concepts as correlates to CS (Brady et al.,
2005; Cronin et al., 2000). In addition, the formerly popularized multidimensional,
multiattribute models became less prevalent recently; instead, researchers showed stronger
interests in the relationships at the summary level (high abstraction) of the variables.
One notable stream of research was on service failure and recovery strategies within the
CS research tradition. Based on the recovery paradox assumption (see a counterargument in
Oh, 2003), many studies examined how recovered service failures contributed to CS often
beyond the level of CS without a service failure. To that end, researchers considered such
determinants of recovery and CS as failure frequency, severity of failure, proximity of service
failure and timing, sincerity of recovery and perceived justice and attribution of the failure,
for example (Maxham and Netemeyer, 2002; Van Doorn and Verhoef, 2008). Experiment was
the main method for this stream of research.
Researchers extended their investigations into the implications of high CS for firm-level
performance. Availability of rich database like ACSI allowed researchers to relate CS to the firm’s
financial performance, shareholder value, market value and analyst stock recommendation
(Anderson and Mansi, 2009; Luo and Homburg, 2007). Other studies examined firm-level
determinants of CS such as customer relation management, employee job satisfaction and Web Customer
aesthetics (Brown and Lam, 2008; Mithas et al., 2005; Wang et al., 2011). Analysis of dyadic data satisfaction
relating CS to employee satisfaction was another noble attempt, which could shed light on the
intricate transaction details of the customer– employee interaction.
Boundary-spanning research on CS was noticeable as well. While CS was universally
viewed as a key driver of repurchases and firm success, some researchers attempted to
examine conditions under which CS had no impact on repurchase at the individual customer
level. Some variables considered in such cases included satiation, customer involvement, 21
satisfaction strength, prior relationship, switching cost and perceived risk (Seiders et al.,
2005; Voss et al., 2010). Other researchers explored redefining the role of expectation as a
direct determinant or as an indirect moderator (Ofir and Simonson, 2001, 2007). Consumer
characteristics also appeared to be a potential moderator in the relationship between
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expectation and CS (Kopalle and Lehmann, 2001). In sum, business research on CS showed
vibrant explorations over the recent years toward both theoretical and practical progresses.

Discussions and conclusions


The ending sections of each article concerned discussing implications of the study findings,
directions for future research and limitations of the current study. As journals typically
required, most H&T articles spared discussing both theoretical and practical implications
(84 per cent), while 9.5 per cent did practical implications only and one study did theoretical
implications only. About 5 per cent covered all theoretical, practical and methodological
implications separately. Most business studies (93 per cent) also included both theoretical
and practical implications, while 4.2 per cent did theoretical implications only and 2.8 per
cent did all theoretical, practical and methodological implications.

Directions
Authors suggested various directions for future research. Mostly frequently suggested in the
H&T studies was to enhance generalizability of the findings (63 per cent), followed by
exploration of potential control, mediator and moderator variables (50 per cent);
improvement in measurement (18 per cent); applications of different statistical methods,
study design and data collection (15 per cent); further investigation into sub-constructs or
sub-dimensions of variables (15 per cent); additional validation of the measurement model
(5.4 per cent); triangulation between qualitative and quantitative approaches (3.7 per cent);
use of random or systematic samples (3.3 per cent); and exploration into possible reasons for
unsupported hypotheses and for a small amount of variance explained (2.1 per cent).
In contrast, business studies suggested most frequently exploration of potential,
additional independent, mediator and moderator variables (83 per cent). A need for enhanced
generalizability of the results was next most frequent (58 per cent), followed by further
investigation into sub-constructs and sub-dimensions of variables (24 per cent),
improvement in measurement (21 per cent), cross-validation of the measurement model (7 per
cent), use of various, different statistical methods, study design and data collection (5.6 per
cent), further investigation into unsupported hypotheses and low R2 (5.6 per cent), and better
control of experimental manipulation (2.8 per cent).

Limitations
Discussions on study limitations are often part of suggested directions for future research.
H&T researchers acknowledged lack of external validity or generalizability of their findings
most frequently (57 per cent), while lack of control over various situational factors (33 per
cent), potential sampling bias (31 per cent) and low measurement integrity (23 per cent) were
the next most frequent warnings. Other less frequently recognized limitations included
IJCHM unidentified biases (7.0 per cent), use of cross-sectional data for causal modeling (5.0
29,1 per cent), bias in study design and analyses (2.9 per cent), use of experiments (2.1 per cent),
lack of internal validity (1.7 per cent), data quality (1.2 per cent) and use of secondary data (0.8
per cent). Almost 20 per cent of the studies did not clearly discuss or acknowledge any study
limitation.
In the business studies, lack of control over various situational factors appeared to be the
22 most frequent limitation acknowledged by the authors (47 per cent). Less frequently, the
authors warned about lack of external validity or generalizability (34 per cent), measurement
quality (17 per cent), and biased sampling (8.6 per cent). Other acknowledged limitations
included unidentified biases (7.1 per cent), use of experimental design (4.3 per cent), biases in
study design and analyses (4.3 per cent) and use of secondary data (4.3 per cent). Nearly 26
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per cent did not explicitly discuss any limitation.

So what?
Concluding our review of CS, SQ and CV research in the H&T journals, especially in a
parallel review of the selected business journals, we think several lessons deserve noting.
First, H&T research needs to progress more aggressively beyond simple applications and
extensions of borrowed theories and models. As our review revealed, H&T studies continued
investigating these issues, especially CS and SQ, and sustained an active stream of research
with a heavy focus on applications and extensions. While such efforts are useful to helping
practitioners in focal segments of the industry, their contribution to theoretical and
methodological progresses has been limited. H&T researchers need to undertake more
theory-building basic research with a goal of defining and discovering various
domain-specific boundary conditions as part of the disciplinary scientific progress.
Second, when adopting and applying theories from other disciplines, we need to do it
more rigorously and innovatively. While straight applications of adopted models to our
industry segments are still useful to some degrees, we need to build additional rigor in our
research practice. Business studies showed good examples, in that they applied and tested
CS frameworks with longitudinal data, nationwide consumer panels and firm-level
performance metrics. The H&T industry is a fertile ground for theory development and
testing, while some research firms like Euromonitor and Smith Travel Research continue
providing massive, wave data over time. The ACSI database also offers opportunities for
data extraction toward H&T-focused research. We do need to take advantage of available
industry offerings and databases for both theoretical and methodological breakthroughs in
CS research.
Third, we need to diversify our methods of investigation to bring about richer theoretical
development. We have relied overly on survey methods for theory testing research. Survey
methods are useful for gathering descriptive information, but they limit us in making the
strong causal claims that we routinely do in testing theories through regression- and
SEM-type models. Our discipline is relatively experiment-deficient and this is one probable
cause for the slow progress in domain-specific theory development even in the fact that the
quantity of disciplinary research and publications continues breaking records year after
year. We should experiment more, as Oh and Parks (1997) exhorted in the very same way
nearly 20 years ago, and, taking one step further, build our knowledge onto the
complementary strengths of surveys and experiments in finer balances. Given such a sheer
volume of research being reported in the ever-increasing conferences and journals in our
discipline, it is perhaps about the time for us to ponder about the scientific status and the
future direction of the H&T discipline.
Fourth, while broadening our applications of theories and methods, we also need to Customer
deepen our understanding of the target theories through basic research. We observe that satisfaction
disciplinary research on CS has focused predominantly on adjusting the borrowed theories to
H&T contexts through modifications of measurement items and reconfirmations of the same
model cross various settings. Commensurate to such efforts, we need to go back to basic
research more to define the key concepts rigorously and suitably in our domain and test
diverse boundary conditions. Moreover, we need to build new knowledge onto what we have
already discovered. Our disciplinary research has been particularly weak at breeding future 23
research and anchoring the current study on prior work on the same topic within the
discipline. Certainly, we do need more rigorous basic research to revamp such traditional
weaknesses, especially toward a more recognized scientific status of the discipline.
Finally, we may want to revisit SQ and CV research. The current status of SQ research is
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without a strong direction, although some researchers still linger around SERVQUAL, while
some others moved on with the SQ concept only for different applications. We may need to
regroup and conduct more basic research to redirect our thinking on SQ so as not to prematurely
discontinue conceptually potent areas of research like this. CV research might provide a good
opportunity to reposition and redefine the role of the SQ concept, as its operational model involves
quality as a key concept. Nonetheless, CV research itself has been stagnant in recent years despite
its inherent appeal for explaining various rational decision-making processes that consumers
undergo. Hence, additional research on CV will not only enrich our understanding of the
consumer decision-making process but it also is likely to incentivize research efforts on quality,
especially SQ in H&T. It is not unreal that CV research may gain momentum again soon at the
dusk of a current rush in research on emotions.
We note a few limitations of this study. First, as with most review studies, selection bias
is inherent in the findings of our review. That is, our results may generalize only within the
studies and time period chosen. Second, some figures should be interpreted carefully as we
often counted multiple entries doing so made most sense. For example, more than one theory
could be applied in the same study in which case we counted each applied theory as a valid
entry in counting the application frequency of that theory. Third, as we indicated earlier, the
findings may have a bias toward CS studies more than SQ or CV studies simply because CS
studies were more prevalent in the data. It should be additionally noted that we could not find
a high degree of consensus among the studies in the type of theories (e.g. models and
hypotheses), methods (e.g. scales and analysis methods) and conclusions (e.g. test results).
Such inconsistencies could hamper meta-analytic studies on the topics. Nevertheless, we
have no doubt that CS, SQ and CV will continue playing a critical role in determining the
success and failure of many hospitality and tourism businesses and, for that reason, it is the
time to rethink and reinvigorate our research efforts.

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Corresponding author
Haemoon Oh can be contacted at: hmoh@hrsm.sc.edu

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