Faculty Publications - College of Business

Document Type


Publication Date



Purpose – This study investigates the relationships between innovation, quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction in pure service companies. Previous studies have shown a negative relationship between quality and productivity in services. However, we argue the two can be positively related when innovation is present.

Design/methodology/approach – We develop and test our hypotheses using the secondary data from the COMPUSTAT, KLD STAT, and the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). We test our hypotheses using ordinary least squares regression and conduct additional testing using path analysis.

Findings – The findings show that quality and productivity are positively related when innovation is present in pure service companies. We also find that innovation is antecedent to both service quality and productivity which in turn positively affect customer satisfaction.

Practical Implications – Both companies and customers can increase their outcomes including higher levels of service quality, productivity and customer satisfaction. Managers should therefore design innovative systems that enable customers to participate in service production. Other innovative systems may help to increase capacity utilization by smoothing high and low demand times, thus increasing both service quality and productivity.

Originality/value – This study contributes to service research by identifying innovation as the key to simultaneously increasing service quality and productivity. We find empirical support for a model in which service quality and productivity have a complementary relationship leading to customer satisfaction with innovation as an antecedent, and we do so using a sample of pure service firms.


Originally published in The TQM Journal, 2 July 2020, https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-10-2019-0235.

This author accepted manuscript is posted under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial International Licence 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0). Any reuse is allowed in accordance with the terms outlined by the licence. To reuse the AAM for commercial purposes, permission should be sought by contacting permissions@emeraldinsight.com.