Investigating the Transfer of Service Culture through Internal Service Quality: A Case of Subsidiary Hotels in an Emerging Market like Nigeria
AuthorMaidugu, Joseph M.
The University of Bradford theses are licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.
InstitutionUniversity of Bradford
DepartmentFaculty of Management and Law
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AbstractThis study explores how foreign owned service firms with headquarters in developed markets transfer their service culture into a country with an emerging market like Nigeria. This study is motivated by the need to understand this process considering the unique features of these markets, and the expansion into countries with emerging markets by service firms located in countries with developed markets to take advantage of both natural and human resources. The research uses case studies of two hotels from different firms, both in Abuja, Nigeria, to explore activities that enhance the transfer of service culture from the Headquarters of these hotels based in the USA. Both hotels were investigated through semi-structured interviews, based on elements of internal service quality from the service profit chain model, in addition to documents and observation notes. The finding reveals the process of transferring service culture is difficult and complex because of unique contextual challenges. Some of these challenges were shown to be country specific, while some may be unique to countries with emerging markets. The country specific challenges include; strong religious allegiance and cultural affinity, and unique societal factors. Other factors could apply to any country with an emerging market these include; corruption, inadequate infrastructure, and lack of skilled labour. Similarly this study identified new elements that enabled both firms to address these challenges as well as enhance the transfer of focal areas in their signature service culture. Some of these elements have also been identified to be country specific i.e. inclusiveness and provision of social support, while the remaining three are emerging market specific i.e. transfer of knowledge and skills, accommodating corruption, and improvisation. These new elements also add to the existing five elements of internal service quality, which are employee selection, job description, reward and recognition, tools to serve customers, and workplace design. The study demonstrates the important role that intermediaries can play in achieving accommodations to achieve at least partial transfer of the parent service culture. Overall, the research contributes to management practice by highlighting areas to focus on when attempting to transfer service culture in similar circumstances. This thesis adds to the academic literature on the transfer of service culture from headquarters in a developed country to a unit in a country with an emerging market. It does this by extending concepts from the service profit chain to show how internal elements can enhance or block the transfer of service culture.
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