Title: The strategic concerns of quality assurance: case studies of large reputable firms in the service sector

Authors: Alan D. Smith

Addresses: Department of Management and Marketing, Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3099, USA

Abstract: Following the Resource-Based View (RBV) of the firm, certain tactical and strategic resources are harder to imitate than others, such as those containing the characteristics of physical uniqueness, path dependence, causal ambiguity and economic deterrence. Creating a strong and recognisable reputation occurs when a client seeks out services primarily based on the success of its quality assurance initiatives. Four service industry organisations were studied by their quality goals, ability to do customised workflow design and implementation and strategically leverage quality assurance techniques and how these organisations can improve its reputation, image and incentives towards achieving superior quality. The four studied organisations are IKON Office Solutions, Inc., Ayco Company, L.P., Highmark, Inc. and Reed Smith, LLP. A brief introduction to their general operating environment is followed by sections describing their general situation and quality-service initiatives and a fairly detailed discussion of the practical applications of the lessons learned from the case studies.

Keywords: customer relationship management; CRM; resource-based view; RBV; service marketing; strategic concerns; quality assurance; service industry; physical uniqueness; path dependence; causal ambiguity; economic deterrence; reputation; customised workflow design; image; incentives; IKON Office Solutions; Ayco Company; Highmark; Reed Smith; document management; financial counselling; wealth management; health insurance; law firms; USA; United States; services.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSOM.2010.035053

International Journal of Services and Operations Management, 2010 Vol.7 No.3, pp.275 - 299

Published online: 02 Sep 2010 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article