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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/5344

Title: The effect of national culture on service provision
Authors: Alajmi, Salman
Advisors: Dennis, C
Alroubaie, A
Keywords: Service provision
National culture
Service quality gaps
Takaful
Meditation effect
Publication Date: 2011
Publisher: Brunel University Brunel Business School PhD Theses
Abstract: PURPOSE: This research is to investigate the effect of national culture on service provision. Hence, the researcher aims Firstly to investigate the differences in national culture between any two different countries share some attributes like language, religion or geographic location. Secondly, it aims to find whether the differences in national culture of two countries associated with differences in service provision. Finally, the researcher aims to propose a framework that shows how differences in national culture may associate with differences in service provision. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: This research will quantitatively develop and examine a conceptual framework that is designed to test the effect of national culture on service provision within the context of Takful industry. A total of 463 respondents completed the survey based questionnaire from two different countries (Kuwait and Egypt) which are identified as being related to the same cluster that is, the Arab clusters. The context of the research happened to be within the context of Takaful (Islamic insurance industry) due to the uniqueness of the sector to the cluster. The data was statistically tested using SPSS and AMOS programming system as the primary statistical technique to build structure equation modelling that allows testing the proposed conceptual framework. FINDINGS: Results have shown that the differences in national culture of power distance and uncertainty avoidance have an effect on service provision through service delivery gaps. Results indicated that the service delivery gaps of information gap, specification gap and performance gap partially mediate the effect of national culture on service provision in terms of information flow, style of management, control, communication policy, specification driver and boundary system. The findings also indicate that there are differences in national culture between Kuwait and Egypt despite the commonality of language and religion. The findings are in contrary to Hofstede’s findings in which he argues that Arab cluster have an identical national culture dominated by Islam. Finally, results provide strong evidence that the researcher cannot disconfirm the theory after being statistically tested in which result support the validity of the theory. LIMITATIONS: The research studied only two dimensions of national culture against three service gap attributed to the theory followed by the research, however they were found strongly linked in previous research. Also the research has addressed only one sector of service industry in two countries, but since the industry (Takaful) stemmed from the religion of the context to which previous research assumes homogeneity of Arab national culture based on the power of the religion. Hence, generalizability of the findings can be extended to any national culture of two countries from the similar cluster share similar attributes of religion and language. CONTRIBUTIONS: Contribution to theory: This research confirmed the findings of previous researches as to what extent national culture effect service provision associated with service delivery gaps. It confirmed previous research findings on the underlying relationships between national culture and service provision and how this might be associated with service delivery gaps. An important contribution to theory is the ability of power distance and uncertainty avoidance in predicting national culture differences in service provision between any two countries. Further, the study found that the national culture dimensions do not equally influence service provision as it varies cross culturally. In addition, the research contributes to the theory by providing a conceptual framework that can cultivates the seed in the body of knowledge to enrich the soil for researchers to study the effect of national culture on service provision. Another contribution stems from the findings that opposes Hofested’s claim regarding the homogeneity of Arab countries. Finally, the research proposes a data driven model stems from the collected data. Contribution to Practice: The findings of this research assist service providers of Takaful in particular, and services sector providers in general, to improve their service quality as it identifies and explains some key insights that might help in dealing with various service delivery gaps. Therefore, it is very important for marketers to understand the effect of national culture differences on service delivery gaps which in turn effect the mechanisms of service provision. Contribution to Policy: The research has contributed to the policy with which delivery processes can be systematically enhancing the excellence of service delivery for organizations. Policies of organizations can be set taking in consideration the role of national culture. Organizations may bridge the service delivery gap if they comprehend the effect of national culture on the delivery of their services. Information gap, specification gap and performance gap can be reduced or eliminated if provider understands the effect of national culture on those gaps and how they policies for Information flow, Style of management, Control, Communication policy, Specification driver and Boundary System. These polices may apply differently in different cultural settings as policies applicable in one culture may not be valid for other culture. On the other hand, differences in power distance and risk acceptance may shape provider’s policy to adapt to the pertinent environment. Hence, this research provides policy makers understand the role of culture on service provision. Contribution to method: This research is significant in drawing support from cultures which is different from Anglo cultures (Hofstede, 1980) which in most researches provide evidence to the management literature. On the foundation of the literature review, the research has contributed to method by using a unique context that related directly to the studied national cultures. The method was the adoption of national culture of countries that belong to the same cluster and study the differences/similarities of this national culture with a unique context that related to the dimension to which they were clustered upon like religion and language. Moderation effect of national culture was not appropriate as the conventional methodology when using structural equation modelling in cross cultural studies. However, mediation effect has been found valid and appropriate in exploring the effect of national culture on service provision. results revealed that the method of testing mediation effect was successful in highlighting the effect of national culture drawn from similar cluster countries on service provision mediated by service quality gaps with which a new addition has been added to the body of the literature.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
URI: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/5344
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