Measurement of service quality of small business in the Vaal area
Sekolanyane, Joseph Edward Mothapedi
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The importance of small business in creating employment is widely acknowledged internationally. South Africa is experiencing an unprecedented increase in urbanization, subsequently creating the need for the increased provision of employment. It is acknowledged, that small businesses cannot compete with larger businesses in terms of the economies of scale and investment. For small businesses to be competitive in global context, it is important that business exploit their inherent strength, such as flexibility and speed of response to customer requirements. The South African economy has witnessed an explosive increase in relation to service industries. Small businesses in the service industries need to improve their service quality in order for them to be competitive. Service quality is generally considered in literature in terms of its relevance in the sphere of large businesses. Most recent trends in service industries consider service quality as the critical factor in determining a competitive edge. In view of the importance of service quality in small businesses, the study seeks to develop a measure of service quality in small business, especially for the Vaal Triangle region. Initially dimensions of service quality in the context of small business in the area are defined and investigated. The SERVQUAL instrument developed by Parasuraman et al., (1988) is used, and based on the empirical results; suggestions are made to adopt this and to take into account the nature of small businesses in the Vaal Triangle area. The methodology used in this study, follows those as proposed by a number of authors to develop service quality instruments. The first step is a qualitative effort to understand the concept/ construct service quality and its measurements. The dimensions of service quality pertaining to small business are developed. The second step was an examination of the SERVQUAL instrument by using data samples from small business services' clients. A number of conclusions and recommendations in relation to the use of the developed instrument are made. Proposals for further research, are also made available.