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Mark Samuel

DBA Graduate - 2017

Thesis title

Culture and Perceived Service Quality in the Middle East: The role of influencing factors

Supervisor(s)

Taran Patel

Mark Samuel is a technology professional with nearly 18 years of multinational experience in leveraging technology for business transformations in enterprises that include Ericsson and Siemens, where he led diverse project teams to deliver optimal service quality to global corporate businesses and governments. His expertise covers strategic management, operations, process/project governance and business transformations. Mark currently works for GCEL as a director of operations in digital economy.

Purpose The purpose is to identify influencing factors that might possess considerable influence on the customer’s perceived quality of service in the Middle East region.Design/methodology/approach The analysis is based on data collected from the field mainly through semi-structured interviews with senior managers/stakeholders who are in direct relationship with external customers. Specific archival data is also restructured to be used for strengthening data analysis in regard to perceived service quality and for cross-checking/triangulation purposes at the data interpretation phase.Findings The outcome of the analysis brings insight to managers about how customers in the Middle East might behave based on their perception of the service being offered by a service provider coming from a different culture. It also attempts to underline certain cultural, sociocultural, and other factors that should be accounted for when dealing with Arab customers from different Middle East cultural groups.Research limitations/implications The major limitation is the difficult access to external customers and the major dependence on qualitative interviews to collect data that might be elsewhere. This entails possibilities to engage in further empirical testing of the findings of this study in other countries. Such developed study can incorporate other means of collecting data like various genres of overt and covert participation observation and focus groups, or it can also be done using quantitative methods such as survey or questionnaire instruments.Practical implications The findings are intended to add a valuable consideration to the managerial mindset on how customers in the Middle East might react to service delivery proposals, offered by foreign service providers or by service providers from the same state or nation but associated with a different culture. Moreover, this study aims to provide service providers with uncommon cultural insights that could help them plan future businesses by formulating purpose-built tactics during sociocultural encounters in order to overcome cultural clashes and bring about customer satisfaction through high quality of service.Originality/value Unlike other linear studies in the field of culture versus service quality, this study follows a holistic approach to culture whereby non-linear sociocultural influences are underscored. In this regard, religion and exposure are found to possess substantial influences in addition to other factors like ethnicity, and language. This study also presents the Middle East as an exclusive case that necessitates the redesign of generic instruments to more adaptable models in order to reflect the non-linear relationships.Keywords Sociocultural, service quality, culture, Middle East