In the last decade, service industries have become a major source of economic growth. Thus, measuring performance in the service industries, particularly efficiency, has revealed itself as an attractive area of research. Indeed, efficiency evaluation has become of paramount importance for increasing competitiveness and achieving sustainable development. Efficiency measurement enables managers to benchmark the performance of their companies and identify areas of inefficiency for future improvement. In the public sector, efficiency measurement is critical to saving resources, lowering costs and ensuring fair markets and effective policy making.
Several approaches and techniques are employed to measure efficiency of service delivery, covering ratio analysis, statistical models based on regression analysis, parametric and non-parametric frontier analysis. While statistical approaches that implement regression analysis investigate average behaviours, parametric and non-parametric frontier approaches such as Stochastic Frontier Analysis and Data Envelopment Analysis focus on best performers.
However, performing efficiency analysis in the service industries holds great challenges to scholars as a consequence of the immateriality that makes services intangible and hardly observable, the perishability that does not allow them to be stored for later consumption, and the participation of the customer in producing and delivering them. Moreover, incorporating quality evaluation in the measurement of efficiency is necessary to avoid managers’ decisions sacrificing quality standards and customer satisfaction for efficiency. These issues require scholars to use innovative research designs, conceptual frameworks and methods.
The papers of this special issue will address research on measuring efficiency in the service industries. The issue welcomes both conceptual and methodological contributions, and empirical quantitative research based on surveys, case studies, etc. Interdisciplinary research is also encouraged.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Benchmarking studies in specific service sectors (i.e, banking and finance, education, tourism, transport, public utilities, healthcare, ICT, etc.)
- Comparison of efficiency concepts and models used in the public and private sectors
- Performance evaluation models including both service efficiency and quality measurements
- Using efficiency measurement to increase accountability and improve planning in the public sector
- Efficiency analysis and resource allocation strategies
- Efficiency analysis and undesirable outputs
- Dynamic efficiency analysis
- Efficiency analysis in multi-stage service-delivering models
- Efficiency analysis of service organisations
- Methodological advances in the measurement of service delivery efficiency