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Assessing the Quality of Public Services: A Conceptual Model

Listed author(s):
  • Cláudia Carvalho


    (Universidade Portucalense)

  • Carlos Brito


    (Faculdade de Economia da Universidade do Porto)

  • José Sarsfield Cabral


    (Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto)

Registered author(s):

    One of the major challenges faced by Public Administration is how to create more value for both citizens and firms, mainly because of the increasing budgetary constraints and challenging demands from society. In fact, over the past two decades there has been a general movement of public reform in most developed countries, and for this reason it is essential to understand how users assess the quality of public services. The aim of this paper is to clarify the determinants of public service quality. Due to the nature of the research problem, we have adopted a case-study methodology. The research involved extensive qualitative and quantitative data collection with managers, citizens and front and back-office public servants by means of interviews, questionnaires and focus groups. The paper presents the case of Public Service Citizens’ Shops (Loja do Cidadão) in Portugal, a recent and innovative channel for the delivery of public services. Firstly, it explores the kind of relationships that develop during the public service encounter between the citizen, the public organization and society. Secondly, citizen satisfaction and dissatisfaction with public services are both investigated. The basic premise is that these two concepts are not opposite but have different determinants. Furthermore, the paper also explores the nature of tolerance and emphasizes the importance of managing emotions in the public service encounter. Finally, it also considers how the quality assessment of public services should also take into account implications regarding value to society.

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    Paper provided by Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto in its series FEP Working Papers with number 345.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2009
    Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:345
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