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Corporate customer satisfaction in the banking industry of Asia: The Singapore experience

Tan, Boon Seng (1998) Corporate customer satisfaction in the banking industry of Asia: The Singapore experience. Professional Doctorate thesis, Murdoch University.

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The dissertation is a concerted attempt to extend the current understanding of customer satisfaction at the business-to-business level in the Asian banking industry. Its original contribution is to build on the recent attempts in marketing research to understand the customer satisfaction process at the business-to-business level (Patterson, Johnson, and Spreng, 1997). In particular, important relational constructs such as guanxi and relationship marketing were incorporated together with the disconfirmation paradigm to conceptualise a comprehensive model of corporate-customer satisfaction within the Singapore context.

The guanxi measurement instrument was built on the six attributes of guanxi stipulated by Yeung and Tung (1994). The resultant 10 attributes of guanxi were developed in accordance with the paradigm for developing better measures of marketing constructs (Churchill, 1979). In the conceptualisation of the comprehensive model of corporate-customer satisfaction, the concept of relationship marketing was operationalised to consist of trust and relationship commitment and was measured using validated instruments developed by Morgan and Hunt (1994). Constructs and measures for the disconfirmation paradigm were largely adapted from business-to-business satisfaction research by Patterson, Johnson, and Spreng (1997).

Data collection involved the distribution of 250, self-administered questionnaires to high performing corporate entities in Singapore through the snow-balling technique. Data was analysed using structural equation modelling through Amos Version 3.6 (Arbuckle, 1997). The data analysis largely supported the conceptualised comprehensive corporate customer satisfaction model.

Relationship marketing was found to have both a direct and indirect impact through disconfirmation on satisfaction. Relationship marketing, disconfirmation, and performance were found to account for 85% of the variance in corporate customer satisfaction. The result is the first, empirical finding reflecting the importance of relational paradigm to impact on customer satisfaction, in addition to the well-established disconfirmation paradigm.

Guanxi was found to impact on satisfaction indirectly through expectation as opposed to the initial conjecture: that guanxi has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. Other analysis showed no significant relationship between fairness and satisfaction. That is a deviation from the satisfaction research at business-to-business level conducted by Patterson, Johnson, and Spreng (1997). The deviation could be accounted for by the Asian currency turmoil and its consequent impact on the customer satisfaction process. In such instances of economic uncertainty, corporate customers generally have a heightened expectation from their respective bankers. On the other hand, bankers are generally constrained by additional corporate policy put in place to protect their organisation against the bearish environment. Hence, there exists a situation where positive disconfirmation is likely to be marginal. As a consequence of such marginal, positive disconfirmation, it impacts on the perception of fairness in the banking relationship.

In conclusion, the research suggests the importance of both the relational paradigm, and the disconfirmation paradigm, in impacting customer satisfaction at the business-to- business level in the Singapore banking industry. The results also indicated that further research should also consider the specificity of the external antecedents, such as the changing business environment and its effects on customer satisfaction process.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Murdoch Affiliation: Division of Business, Information Technology and Law
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Armstrong, Robert
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