New Perspectives in Research on Corporate Sustainability series
Edited by Rolf Wüstenhagen, Jost Hamschmidt, Sanjay Sharma and Mark Starik
Chapter 9: Quality, Environmental Practices and Customer Satisfaction in Services
George I. Kassinis and Andreas C. Soteriou Studies have pointed out that the implementation of environmental management practices can lead to performance gains in services and manufacturing alike. In services, such performance gains were shown to materialize through cost reduction and resource savings (Goodman, 2000; Schendler, 2001) or through increased customer satisfaction and loyalty (Kassinis and Soteriou, 2003). In this chapter, we examine the link between environmental practices and customer satisfaction within the context of service quality practices, which are critical for a service organization’s success. We argue that the established relationship between service quality practices (SQPs) and customer satisfaction may be strengthened if SQPs are ‘coupled’ with environmental practices. Synergies between environmental and service quality practices can increase the level of customer satisfaction achieved by a service ﬁrm – compared to service-quality or environmental practicesonly scenarios. Researchers have stressed that the successful implementation of environmental management practices – speciﬁcally pollution prevention – is a complex phenomenon (Aragón-Correa and Sharma, 2003) that is dependent on speciﬁc processes (Eisenhardt and Martin, 2000) connected to environmental capabilities such as stakeholder integration, continuous innovation and improvement, and higher-order shared learning (Hart, 1995; Aragón-Correa and Sharma, 2003). These practices and processes are part of proactive environmental strategies that seek to achieve competitive advantages for the ﬁrm either through cost advantages or through diﬀerentiation advantages targeting green consumers. At the same time, research has shown that leading service ﬁrms focus on strengthening a number of performance drivers such as their generic operations capabilities,...
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