Impact of culture on perceptions of service quality
: a comparative study of British and Arab hotel guests in Egypt

  • Ahmed El-Mansouri

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This study is set within the context of the tourism and hospitality sector in Egypt, a popular and expanding tourism destination in the Middle East/North Africa. The study specifically investigates the impact of culture on expectations and perceptions of service quality in hotels. In the literature it has been pointed out that there is a shortage of studies focusing on the impact of culture on service quality. What research has been done generally indicates that expectations of service quality by an individual may vary according to whether that person is from a high or low power distance, and whether from a high context or low context, cultural background. With increasing competition in the hospitality sector service quality could be an important factor in gaining competitive advantage, and understanding cultural differences and can be helpful in dealing with customers from different backgrounds. Following a positivistic methodology and quantitative methods, an adapted version of the SERVQUAL questionnaire was administered to Arab and British hotel guests in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Consequently 504 correctly completed copies were analysed using hypotheses testing and correlation analysis. To the five dimensions of SERVQUAL- tangibles, empathy, responsiveness, assurance and reliability-a sixth dimension of sustainability was also added. This was a novel idea. The findings showed that Arabs had, overall, lower expectations and perceptions of service quality than the British guests. This showed that there is a relationship between expectations of service quality and culture but that the finding could not be explained in terms of Hofstede's cultural dimensions as the literature review generally suggests. Follow up interviews with hotel guests showed that the lower expectations of Arabs in general and Egyptians in particular, could be the result of their beliefs that Westerners are always treated better than Arabs by the hotel staff. The findings also show that environmentally friendly practices by hotels can be added as a dimension to SERVQUAL in respect of the hospitality sector.
Date of Award2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Nottingham Trent University

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