Different Comparison Standards as Determinants of Service Quality


  • Veronica Liljander Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration
  • Tore Strandvik Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration


A widely accepted view on how satisfaction and service quality are formed is that they are the result of some type of comparison process, where the perceived performance is evaluated against a comparison standard. Different comparison standards are used in this study on educational services and are related to satisfaction with the service. The authors question the difference between satisfaction and service quality as it has been presented in the service quality literature. Several service quality model specifications are compared. Results show that 1) inferred disconfirmation models are inferior to all other models, 2) performance alone is a strong indicator of satisfaction, and 3) performance and direct disconfirmation of the brand norm explains satisfaction best, 4) attribute-specific measures of comparison standards may be added for diagnostic reasons, but they add little to the explanation of satisfaction and 5) the best brand norm, which most resembles the nonnative standard used in Servqual, seem to be the least effective comparison standard.