Lessons from a Successful Service Quality Initiative: A Case Study in Organizational Change


  • Chris Flood
  • Ron McCarville


Change, service improvement, change facilitators, change inhibitors, case study


Service quality initiatives offer many obvious benefits. The service literature provides several examples in which such initiatives reduce operating costs and/or improve services to users. Unfortunately, such initiatives rarely succeed over time (Goodman & Dean, 1994; Tabak, 1996), and "most well-intended quality programs die a quiet death" (Steininger, 1994, p. 605 ). Reasons for these failures are unclear (Dean & Bowen, 1994), but it seems likely that they may be linked to staff resistance to change. This paper contributes to our understanding of organizational dynamics by focusing on the evolution of a single successful service quality change initiative widlin a municipal leisure facility. Reasons for its near failure (change inhibitors) and subsequent success (change facilitators) are traced.





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