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Service quality management in local authority sport and recreation services : a study of quality management methods in use and an evaluation of the efficacy of the ISO 9002 and Investors in People standards.

Lentell, Robert Neil (1999) Service quality management in local authority sport and recreation services : a study of quality management methods in use and an evaluation of the efficacy of the ISO 9002 and Investors in People standards. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86107) (KAR id:86107)


Two key research questions are addressed in this thesis. First, to ascertain what quality management methods are in use in local authority sport and recreation services. Second, to evaluate the effectiveness in these services of two management standards, namely the international quality assurance standard ISO 9002 and the UK Investors in People (liP) standard. A review of the literature indicated that little was known about how managers of sport and recreation services attempted to secure quality of service. The first stage of primary research therefore provided this knowledge through a postal survey of managers of sports and recreation facilities. The survey was mailed to 1700 sports and recreation facility managers in the UK and 388 fully usable responses were received, a response rate of 23%. The results indicated that two standards, ISO 9002 and liP, were in frequent use. The second stage of primary research assessed the effectiveness of the two standards in local authority sports and recreation services. The literature review showed a considerable volume of work on the subjects of quality management, service quality and the quality of public sector services. However, little had been done to develop a method for evaluating quality management practice in services generally or in public sector services in particular. The method developed by the researcher for the second stage of primary research was case study investigation of eight local authority sport and recreation facilities which were managing to one of the above standards or to no quality management standard. Each case was investigated in two ways. The perceptions of members of the management team were explored through structured interviews, a total of 24 interviews being conducted. The perceptions of service users were studied through administration of a multivanate customer questionnaire, which received 820 fully usable responses. The management interviews showed support for ISO 9002 from those cases using it, and responses indicated that management of organisational processes was stronger than in the other cases. In those cases managing to the liP standard, the interviews showed that people management was more robust than in the other cases; however there was a more varied view of the utility of the liP standard. The customer survey showed that users of the liP registered facilities evaluated service quality more highly than did customers of the ISO 9002 registered ones. This was true of questions about staff quality and of those about processes and tangible assets. It was concluded that whilst ISO 9002 helped managers to deliver a more consistent and less wasteful service, these results were not visible to customers. liP had a beneficial effect on management of staff and this impacted on other service attributes

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86107
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Management & business studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:28 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2022 10:53 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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