Service quality is a multi-see idea that can be clarified in light of two parameters (i.e. dialect and hierarchical points of view). In parts of dialect point of view, it is frequently showed up as inconspicuous, which is difficult to rehashed and impacted by individual states of mind and recognitions (Aryee et al. 2013; Sriram, Chintagunta and Machanda, 2015; Yuen and Thai, 2015). In light of this perspective, it has comprehensively translated as a long-run assessment criteria.
2.2 Performance Drivers (CSFs)
The term “performance driver” will be henceforth used to mark activities (as repetitive atomic processes) or actions (as one-run events) that increase potential to achieve higher level of corporate performance. In quality literature performance indicators (PDs) are called critical success factors (CSFs) and they are always used interchangeably.
The key performance drivers (KPDs) are lead indicators that focus on key business processes and direct employees’ actions. In contrast, a KPO is a lag indicator that focuses on what was achieved from the business processes and provides information to management that is useful in planning and control (Demydyuk, G. 2011).
PDs or CSFs are latent variables, which means they cannot be measured directly. The critical factors differs from one author to another, and from one industry to another although there are common issues (Bouranta, N., Psomas, E. L., ; Pantouvakis, A. 2017).
One of the earlier empirical studies in QM is by (Saraph et al. 1989) who has used data obtained from 162 managers of 20 manufacturing and services industries located in USA to identify the critical success factors that has the most direct impact on service quality, they identified eight factors leadership, role of quality department, training, product design, supplier quality management, process management, quality data reporting, and employee relations.
Also Meseguer Miravet, A. (2017) discussed a number of PDs which contribute in TQM programs in service industry, they selected the following: recognition and rewarding program, benchmarking, training, employee empowerment, technology management, process management, employee participation, teamwork, training, and outcome measurement.
Finally a recent research conducted by (Tahib and Rahman, 2010) identified nine TQM CSFs which are: top management commitment, customer focus, training and education, continuous improvement and innovation, supplier management, employee involvement, employee encouragement, benchmarking, and quality information and performance.
From the previous studies a comprehensive list of a number of 16 effective CSFs of positive impact on quality of service were determined, but only 9 of them were selected through a series of interviews conducted with ports managers which are: Leadership, Benchmarking, Process Management, Teamwork, Communication, organizational culture, employee participation, reward and recognition, training and recognition. Accordingly two hypotheses were proposed:
• H1: There should not be any significant difference in the nine performance drivers implemented in Suez Canal ports.
• H2: There is a significant positive relationship between the nine performance drivers and service quality in SC. ports.
A successful leader is the person who steers the team members in order to achieve organizational goals. This will help achieve all organization objectives. (Kok, S. K. et al.2017).
Wreder Å., (2007;2008) describes leadership as “a process for influence, without forcing, one or several groups of people in one direction”.
While Glatthorn, A. A. et al., (2018) tried to discuss the difference between management and leadership. Management, according to them is to orientate an operation in the surrounding world. Leadership on the other hand is personal and intentionally influence the workforce to perform an outstanding result.
Keinan, A. S., ; Karugu, J. (2018) asserted that top-management commitment is the fundamental driver of business excellence. Further, studies showed that top-management commitment significantly affects the quality performance. Accordingly two hypotheses were proposed:
• H11: Leadership practices are significantly implemented in Suez Canal Ports.
• H21: Leadership is positively correlated with Service quality.
Benchmarking is an integral part of a total quality process. It is a continuous process of evaluating companies renowned as industry leaders, as to determine business and work processes that represent best practices to establish smart business goals (Hair Jr, J. F. et al., 2015)
While (Hervani, 2005) visualize benchmarking as “a tool to improve organization’s performance and competitiveness in business life”.
Benchmarking should be a reference and/or measurement standard for comparison; a performance measurement that is the standard for business excellence; and a measurable standard to determine best-in-class achievement. Benchmarking can be definitely considered as a strategic tool for performance assessment and continuous improvement. (Hassan, A. A. 2016).
While A. Wind (2017), gave its own definition as follows “benchmarking is the process of identifying, understanding and adapting to outstanding practices and processes from organization world-wide by any firm to maintain and/or improve its performance”.
Similarly, the study by Anil, A. P., ; Satish, K. P. (2016) reported that benchmarking help in continuous service improvements and establishment of customer satisfaction. Accordingly two hypotheses were proposed:
• H12: Benchmarking practices are significantly implemented in Suez Canal ports.
• H22: Benchmarking is positively correlated with Service quality.
Teamwork typically involves groups of interdependent employees who work hand by hand to achieve group outcomes( Harper, C. 2015).
Effective team implementation can enhance the motivational features of work and thus increases job satisfaction. However, the job satisfaction of team members is determined by a number of factors, such as the team formation, group dynamics, and the nature of the work itself; because these factors operate together, there is no simple process through which teamwork affects job satisfaction (Cummings, T. G., ; Worley, C. G. 2014 ).
Successful organizations are run with teams, for solving problems, improving quality, and for introducing new processes and new products (Goetsch, D. L., ; Davis, S. B. 2014).
Lee, J. C., Shiue, Y. C., ; Chen, C. Y. (2016). commented that entire organization should work for improving quality and support for quality improvement activities by implementing teamwork practice. Accordingly two hypotheses were proposed:
• H13: Teamwork practices are significantly implemented in Suez Canal ports.
• H23: Teamwork is positively correlated with Service quality.
2.2.4 Organizational Culture
Chindia, E. W. (2017) defined corporate culture as being “the deeper level of basic values, assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organization”. These values, assumptions, attitudes and beliefs are reflected within an organizational culture.
An organizational culture is renowned by members shared ability to understand specific concepts within the organization. A strong organizational culture enables the flexible flow of information and enshrines harmony among its employees. The key feature is that culture is taught to new members as the correct way to behave, thus preserve organizational survival and growth (Baron, A., Hassard, J., Cheetham, F., ; Sharifi, S. 2018).
And according to Dhar, R. L. (2015) it is the task of the top management to design a structure and establish a culture that will maximize the effective participation of all employees in the search for quality. Accordingly two hypotheses were proposed:
• H14: Organizational culture is significantly implemented in Suez Canal ports.
• H24: Organization culture is positively correlated with Service quality
2.2.5 Employees Participation:
The aim of improving employee participation is to encourage employees to make more contributions to the success of the firm. Employee commitment can be established only on the basis of confidence among employees and management (Ross, J. E. (2017).
Top management and supervisors should encourage and motivate employees to develop and utilize their full potential, trust and care for employees, encourage and support employees in job- and career-related development/learning objectives, respect and value employees’ talents and creativity, and treat employees as valuable resources of the firm. (Mohammed, M., Rufai, M. D., & Oludare, Y. L. 2017)
Every employee should be encouraged to function as a supervisor. Thus, employee commitment can be increased through responsibility more importantly, they should be treated equally, fairly, and rationally. Employee commitment can be cultivated step by step; it is an incremental process (Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. 2016).
Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2016) claimed that involvement and participation of employees at all level is must to improve the quality of the current and future product or service. Accordingly two hypotheses were proposed:
• H16: Employee participation practices are significantly implemented in Suez Canal Ports
• H26: Employee participation positively correlated with Service quality.
Communication came to very important for organizations due to its play a strategic role in the successful work environment. This refers to behaviors and people attitudes have influence by levels of communication at the organizations. In addition to the communication is considered the feature factor to helps both staff and mangers to achieve organizational objectives (Bryson, J. 2017).
Earlier studies indicated that communication is an essential and vital management practice within an organization. While recent studies noted that effective communication stimulates the organization to move systematically towards employees’ involvement, customer satisfaction, and improves organization performance (Scott, W. R. (2015).
For sharing information to be successful, management should target the right audience with the right message in the right way at the right time, Failure to communicate effectively creates unnecessary problems, resulting in confusion, loss of interest and eventually in declining quality through apparent lack of guidance and motivation (Oakland, 2003). Accordingly two hypotheses were proposed:
• H17: Communication practices are significantly implemented in SC. ports.
• H27: Communication is positively correlated with Service quality.
2.2.7 Training and Education
Training and education is the process that provides employees with the knowledge and the skills required to operate within the systems and standards set by management”, a definition by (Kerzner, H., & Kerzner, H. R. (2017)
(Gile, 2009) sees that training is a technology that converts inactive employee into an active one by making him/her visible and controllable in order to reduce or even eliminate the gap between the current and the expected situation.
Also Companies recognized the importance of training and educating staff, especially in the changing work environment, an indispensable part of the management activities (Morsi, M. A. et al, 2016). In the same context (Talib and Rahman, 2010) reported the critical role of training and education in maintaining high quality level within the service industry. Accordingly two hypotheses were proposed:
• H15: Training and education practices are significantly implemented in Suez Canal Ports
• H25: Training and education is positively correlated with Service quality
2.2.8 Rewards and recognition
Firms should institute a serious recognition and reward program, the recognition and reward must be consistent with organizational values and objectives. If individual or team efforts cannot contribute to the realization of the overall organizational objectives, they cannot be recognized and rewarded. Therefore, objectives of individuals or teams need to be continuously reviewed and updated, and the criteria should be objective and measurable; otherwise, it is not easy to ensure that the recognition and reward can be conducted fairly (Ross, J. E. 2017).
The recognition and reward should be meaningful and fit the organizational culture. Otherwise, it is useless, also the program should be approved by the workers’ congress (Scott, W. R. 2015).
Once the program is approved, it should be strictly implemented. Otherwise, recognition and reward activities cannot effectively stimulate employee commitment, enthusiasm, and creativity. Finally, recognition and reward can be provided at several levels: Individual, team, department, or business unit (Short, K. (2016).
Employee encouragement such as rewards and recognition motivates employees to perform which in turn influence customer satisfaction (Chang, K. C. (2016).. Accordingly two hypotheses were proposed:
• H18: Reward and recognition practices in are significantly implemented in Suez Canal ports.
• H28: Reward and recognition is positively correlated with Service quality
2.2.9 Process Management
The concept of process management can be traced back to the evolving of quality movement and its shift in focus from product features (the output) to process features (how value is actually created in organizations?) (Hammer, M. 2015).
This shift was explained furthermore by the next generation of scholars in the quality evolution, for example, Scott, W. R. (2015), who suggested that the whole organization should be viewed as a system of processes.
So from their point of view, process management shall involve planned efforts to define and map processes; identify bottlenecks and improve the process flow; in addition to assign process owners (POs), thus creating a management structure for the value stream that moves between departments (Boutros, T., & Cardella, J. 2016).
Mitra, A. (2016) commented that process management stresses the value adding to a process, increasing the productivity of every employee and improving the quality of the organization. Accordingly two hypotheses were proposed:
• H19: Process management practices are significantly implemented in Suez Canal Ports.
• H29: Process management is positively correlated with Service quality.