Pragmatic perspectives on the measurement of information systems service quality

William J. Kettinger, Choong C. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

289 Citations (Scopus)


In this research note, we join the debate between Van Dyke, Kappelman, and Piybutok and Pitt, Watson, and Kavan pertaining to the conceptual and empirical relevance of SERVQUAL as a measure of IS service quality. Adopting arguments from marketing, Van Dyke et al. (1997) question the SERVQUAL gap measurement approach, the interpretation and operationalization of the SERVQUAL expectation construct, and the reliability andvalidity of SERVQUAL dimensionality. In a response to those arguments, Pitt et al. (1997) defend their previous work (1995) in a point-by-point counterargument that suggests that the marginal empirical benefit of a perceptual-based (SERVPERF) service quality measure does not justify the loss of managerial diagnostic capabilities found in a gap measure. While siding with many of the positions taken by Pitt et al. (1997), we attempt to add value to the debate by presenting discrepancies we have with the two other research teams and by suggesting alternative approaches to resolve, or at least alleviate, problems associated with SERVQUAL We believe that the theoretical superiority of an alternative IS service quality measure should be backed by empirical evidence in the IS context, hence answering some of the criticism by Van Dyke et al. and offering a construct valid version of the IS-adapted SERVQUAL. From a pragmatic view-point, we believe that the justification of using SERVQUAL's gap measure should be driven by more effective ways to utilize expectations in IS service management. To this end, we introduce the newer Parasuraman et al. (1994b) measures, the concept of a "zone of tolerance" for expectation management and an illustration of its practical use in an IS setting. Overall, we attempt to set the direction of where we think this debate should lead the IS field, namely, toward practical and timely IS service quality measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-239
Number of pages17
JournalMIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management


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