Book Review:
Service Quality Management in Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure
Authors: Kandampully, J., Mok, C. & Sparks, B. (Eds)

Kandampully, J., Mok, C. & Sparks, B. (Eds), (2001). Service Quality Management in Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, The Haworth Hospitality Press, New York.
ISBN 0 7890 0726 6.

Reviewed by: Ruth Taylor

This edited volume provides a comprehensive insight into service quality management within the contexts of hospitality, tourism and leisure. Taken as a whole, this book provides a much welcome addition to the area of services management, and in particular in the field of service quality management. The editors have assembled the results from research and investigations of nineteen authors from around the world, providing the reader with access to an amazing breadth and depth of topic overviews, international research, industry examples, and new and proven ideas. This should be a compulsory addition to any management course for students studying in hospitality, tourism and/or leisure, and the services industry generally.

The book is comprised of seventeen chapters, each focussing on a key issue within the hospitality, tourism or leisure sectors relating to service quality management. The tried and proven successful formula for texts, that of providing a theoretical framework, then enhancing or substantiating by the inclusion of various industry examples, has been used throughout the book. Best practice examples within international service organisations are a feature of the text. As with many edited volumes, the resultant quality of the individual chapters does vary in content and readability. However, taken in its entirety, due to the contemporary relevance of the topics covered, in conjunction with the quality of research used to underpin many of the concepts, this book achieves a great deal beyond reporting the issues to date. Many chapters will provide the benchmark for future researchers in the area of services quality management.

It is probable that service industries will dominate the new millenium, with service quality management at the forefront of many of the key issues. As such, a lost opportunity would appear to be at the beginning of this book. Whilst recognising that the focus of this book is on the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries, a solid chapter covering the services sector, followed by a chapter relating to the specifics of the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries would broaden the readership’s base, and provide a greater conceptual framework for the book. This would differentiate the text and provide a solid benchmark for future writing and research in this area. One of the issues with many current texts written for tourism, hospitality and leisure studies is that they cover similar information in introductory chapters. This makes for repetitive, unnecessary reading.

With any overview of an edited volume, it is difficult to do justice to all chapters, apart from writing a review of all seventeen chapters. This would not serve the purpose of a review. Therefore, a general comment to make is the percieved underlying balance of concepts delivered in a marketing framework. This in itself is not an issue, however the title clearly relates to management perspectives of service. As the Preface (xvii) states “...there is still a lack of holistic understanding of what actually constitutes quality...”. This can be a challenge for the second edititon: to provide a strong conceptual framework at the beginning of the book, by including a holistic nexus inclusive of strategic management, operational management and marketing foci to the topic. Overall linkage between each chapter would also be a welcomed addition to the next version of this text.

Again, if the intent of the editors is that this book is to be used as a text, the inclusion of case studies and review and discussion questions to emphasise learning experiences would add to the quality of this volume. The addition of more diagrams, images, figures and graphic representation of some concepts would also enhance the learning experience of the reader and the delivery of information.

The range of topics examining nascent service management issues is, without a doubt, a challenge that has successfully been undertaken by three excellent editors with a team of international scholars who clearly know and care about service quality management. Due to the theoretical and practical experience highlighted, it makes for reading for both academic and industry purposes; thus being useful to both practitioner managers and educators. This book would be suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. Therefore it fills a difficult dual-purpose niche excellently.

Ruth Taylor
Curtin University of Technology