Scale for Measuring Perceived Service Quality of Public Service in Sri Lanka: With Special Reference to Divisional Secretariats in Gampaha District

A.T. Wijesekera, R.L.S. Fernando



The most accepted SERVQUAL is heavily applied to measure the service quality of Business to Customer (B2C) profit oriented organizations than for non-profit organizations. Thus this paper describes the development of a 19-item instrument for assessing customer perceptions of service quality in public service with special reference to Divisional Secretariats in Sri Lanka. To do so, both qualitative and quantitative methods were utilized in three fundamental stages recommended by Churchill (1979) and Parasuraman, (1988). In following their footsteps, initially a qualitative research was undertaken in five Divisional Secretariats within Gampaha District through interviews with 50 customers from different backgrounds and affiliations which produced 42-items with eight factors emerged. These 42-items were included in a questionnaire and quantitative study was undertaken with 100 respondents who were current or recent service beneficiaries of Divisional Secretariats within Gampatha District. Ninety five questionnaires were returned and found to be useful, which represents a 92% response rate. More than half (55%) of the respondents were male between the ages of 48-57(35%).To ensure the reliability and validity of the measures of service quality construct, mainly reliability test, split-half reliability and factor analysis, were used. Finally, 41-items were deduced in to 19-items and a new scale was developed to measure the service quality of Divisional Secretariats with 5 dimensions Responsiveness, Communication, Tangible, Empathy and Assurance. Among these responsiveness dimensions could be the least important and the empathy dimension was of most concern to customers. Regarding the limitations of the study in this respect, only the perception items were considered. The sample size was 100 and it was selected only from Gampaha District with the use of judgmental sampling as one of the non- probabilistic sampling techniques. The use of one of the probabilistic techniques would provide the chance of generalizing the results more confidently. As a closing note, further studies with large sample size which covers the all island using this newly developed scale to measure the service quality of Divisional Secretariats and replication studies with other public organizations would be fruitful for further generalizations of the newly developed scale.

Keywords: Service Quality, SERVQUAL, Pubic Service, Divisional Secretariats

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