Service orientation: the derivation of underlying constructs and measures

Pedro Oliveira*, Aleda V. Roth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper coins the construct of Service Orientation (SO) and empirically develops its measurement in the context of business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce. SO is operationally defined as the business' overall propensity for delivering service excellence. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that multi-item measurement scales have sufficient psychometric properties of validity and reliability to be useful for theory building and testing. Design/methodology/approach: The authors followed Menor and Roth's two-phased approach to develop new multi-item measurement scales. First, the authors reviewed the literature, held structured interviews with managers and performed six independent rounds of item-sorting analyses to obtain insights for the initial measurement model specification. Second, survey research procedures were employed to develop and refine a questionnaire to collect data on a sample of senior managers of 181 US businesses that implemented B2B e-services. The psychometric properties of the SO dimensions were confirmed using structural equations modeling. Findings: The authors empirically confirm the nomological network of SO as a third-order latent variable comprised of five combinative service competency bundles: service climate; market focus; process management; human resource policy; and metrics and standards. Together these bundles provide a holistic and integrative representation of the general operating environment's orientation towards customers and a business' general propensity to deliver service excellence. Importantly, the measurement structure of service orientation was found to be invariant for both goods producing and service firms. Practical implications: The proposed metrics are a useful benchmarking tool for practitioners from both manufacturing and service firms to use to monitor and improve their business's SO. Originality/value: The paper is believed to be the first to operationally define and measure SO in the context of B2B e-commerce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-190
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • B2B electronic services
  • Business-to-business marketing
  • Electronic commerce
  • Empirical research
  • Multi-item measurement scale development
  • Operations management
  • Service operations strategy
  • Service orientation


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