Can't See the Trees for the Forest "Why IS-ServQual Items Matter"
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Despite longstanding concern with the dimensionality of the service quality construct as measured by ServQual and IS-ServQual instruments, variations on the IS-ServQual instrument have been enduringly prominent in both academic research and practice in the field of IS. We explain the continuing popularity of the instrument based on the salience of the item set for predicting overall customer satisfaction, suggesting that the preoccupation with the dimensions has been a distraction. The implicit mutual exclusivity of the items suggests a more appro-priate conceptualization of IS-ServQual as a formative index. This conceptualization resolves the paradox in IS-ServQual research, that of how an instrument with such well-known and well-documented weaknesses con-tinue to be very influential and widely used by academics and practitioners. A formative conceptualization acknowledges and addresses the criticisms of IS-ServQual, while simultaneously explaining its enduring salience by focusing on the items rather than the “dimensions.” By employing an opportunistic sample and adopting the most recent IS-ServQual instrument published in a leading IS journal (virtually, any valid IS-ServQual sample in combination with a previously tested instrument variant would suffice for study purposes), we demonstrate that when re-specified as both first-order and second-order formatives, IS-ServQual has good model quality metrics and high predictive power on customer satisfaction. We conclude that this formative specification has higher practical use and is more defensible theoretically.