Literature review on service quality in hospitality and tourism (1984-2014): Future directions and trends

Lai, Ivan Ka Wai and Hitchcock, Michael. 2018. Literature review on service quality in hospitality and tourism (1984-2014): Future directions and trends. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 30(1), pp. 114-159. ISSN 0959-6119 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the development of service quality research in hospitality and tourism from 1984 to 2014, to identify research gaps, and to suggest directions for future research.
Design/methodology/approach – This review comprised three steps with the first being the generation of a structural map by using the online pathfinder network (PFNET) to identify potential research themes. The second research step involved an online literature search covering 2,211 academic journal articles to obtain basic
information for planning an additional content investigation concerning the research themes. The final step was to investigate the content of the articles published in top-tier journals or frequently cited ones in three different stages (1984-1993, 1994-2003, and 2004-2014) in order to explore potential research topics.
Finding – The study identifies 17 research themes that comprise two main research themes, seven sub-stems, six outer-leaves, and two little-leaves. The developments of service quality research in each theme are explored. The role of each theme in service quality study is revealed. Finally, this study identifies research opportunities for service quality research within each theme.
Practical implications – This study demonstrates how to use PFNET to effectively perform a systematic literature review. By referring to previous publications reviewed in this study, researchers can contribute by extending existing theories in their further research on the seventeen themes.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Literature review, Service quality, Citation, Content investigation, Pathfinder network

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


16 September 2017Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 Dec 2018 15:21

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:35

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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