Administration & Management

It's Art of Governance & Not Commerce Alone

Monthly Archives: April 2011

A Puzzle Called Service Quality

“The Currency Notes That A Customer Gets From The Tellers In Four Banks Are The Same. What Is Different Are The Tellers.” —- Stanley Marcus (1988)

……Article Comming Soon.

“Competing Organizations Provide Same Type Of Service. What They Do Not Provide Is Same Quality Of Service.” — Saurabh Singh (2011)

Probably no one knows this fact better than the customers.

to continue..

Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh

Yes, I got a chance to start the  discussion further..Probably for first time out of ‘n’ times Promised……

Service Quality is not a new phenomenon though it may be taken as a bit vague and less understood phenomenon. But why all of a sudden I started a discussion on service quality. The reasons are very obvious and are in sync with the growth of national economy. As the nation gets itself established as developed nation, a boom is going to be witnessed in tertiary sector of the economy, which is often reffered as service sector. It has already been growing at a phenomenal rate but scope for further acceleration exists.

When we talk of service quality, a number of issues are born. What do we mean by term Service Quality, How it can be delivered, How it can be felt, and How it can be measured  etc.

Since mid eighties in twentieth century to till date, numerous researchers have come out with various models of measuring service quality. They can be listed as below:

  1. Data Envelopment Analysis Method developed by Charnes et. al. (1978)
  2. SERVQUAL scale introduced by Parasuraman et. al. (1988)
  3. SERVPERF scale introduced by Cronin and Taylor (1992)
  4. BSQ Model by Bahia & Nantel (2000)
  5. CARTER Model by Othman and Owen (2001)

But before going for measuring the Service Quality, I feel its necessary for scholars to understand fully well that how a Measurment Scale is Developed.

The Scale to be discussed is SERVQUAL Model introduced by Parasuraman et. al. (1988). This due to reasons that it has been used quite a large number of times. So here we go:

STEP – 1

Four Services were selected for the purpose

1. Retail Banking

2. Credit Cards

3. Securities Brokerage

4. Appliance Repair and Maintenance

Three focus group interviews were conducted for each service selected, cumulative they turn twelve.

The purpose of this focus group interview was to learn about customers’ view on service quality.

STEP – 2

To ascertain how service firm executives view service quality, in-depth face to face interviews were conducted with Marketing, Operations and Customer Relations Executives in four nationally recognized companies – one from each of the service categories being investigated.

Phase – 1

This phase indicated that customers evaluate service quality by mentally comparing their perception of delivered services with their expectations from the service firm.

They do this along ten distinct dimensions as listed hereunder:

Reliability             Responsiveness        Competence                      Access                  Courtesy

Communication   Credibility        Security    Understanding/ Knowing the Customer    Tangibles

This inquiry also revealed key gaps within service firms that could have a bearing on service quality as perceived by customers.

Example:
The inability of customer contact personnel to meet service – quality specifications laid down by management.

Phase – 2

This part was more empirical and  focused on

Developing a comprehensive but parsimonious instrument for measuring customer perception of service quality.

To accomplish the objective a well established procedure for developing structured instruments to measure constructs that are not directly observable was adopted.

Ninety Seven items, fleshing out the ten dimensions of service quality mentioned above were identified in the phase 1.

Each item then was recast in a pair of statements on the pattern below:

1. To measure expectations about firms in general within the service category being investigated.

Example: “When these firms promise to do something by a certain time, they should do so”

2. To measure perceptions about the particular firm whose service quality was being assessed

Example: “When XYZ firm promises to do something by a certain time, it does so”

Each statement was accompanied by a seven point scale ranging from 7 (strongly agree) to 1 (strongly disagree).

All the ninety seven items on instruments were shortened by iterative data collection and analysis steps.

The process can be called as instrument purification done to eliminate items that failed to discriminate well among respondents with differing quality perceptions about firms in several service categories.

The data for initial refinement of the 97 item instrument, was gathered from a quota sample of 200 hundred customers, divided equally between males and females, and representing recent users of one of the following five services:

  1. Appliance repair and maintenance
  2. Retail Banking
  3. Long distance telephone
  4. Securities brokerage
  5. Credit cards

The raw questionnaire data was converted into perception minus expectation scores for various items.

These difference scores could range from +6 to -6, with more positive score representing higher perceived service quality.

Difference scores obtained were analyzed using item to total co-relation analysis and factor analysis.

This resulted in elimination of roughly two – third of the original items and consolidation of several overlapping quality dimensions into new, combined dimensions.

Retesting

To verify the reliability and validity of the condensed scale, it was administered to four independent samples of approximately 190 customers each to gather data on service quality of four nationally known firms:

  1. A Bank
  2. A credit Card Issuer
  3. A Repair and Maintenance firm; and
  4. A Long Distance Telephone Company

Analysis of data from four samples led to additional refinement of the instrument and confirmed its reliability and validity.

The final instrument consisted of 22 items, spanning the five dimensions of service quality (described in an earlier article) as below:

  1. Tangibles
  2. Reliability
  3. Responsiveness
  4. Assurance
  5. Empathy

Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh

Sahara India Commercial Corporation (SICCL) — A MYSTRY — AN ENIGMA — OR — A LOOT

2.6 m Shareholders, but Sahara Co Still Unlisted

Sahara India Commercial Not on Bourses Despite  3,000-cr Issue

In October 2009, Sahara India Commercial Corporation (SICCL), part of Sahara Group of Companies, decided to issue shares to a bunch of investors. While the size of the share issue— 3,000 crore—was substantial, what was really startling was not the amount, but the number of shareholders who were allotted shares: 2.6 million. Even if this were the only share issue by the company, it would make it the third-largest company in the country today in terms of number of shareholders—behind Reliance Power (4.9 million shareholders as of December 2010), and Reliance Industries (3.5 million). That share issue by SICCL placed it far ahead of other stellar names of India Inc such as Tata Steel and NTPC, in terms of the shareholder base.

But here’s the real surprise. Despite the share issue, SICCL is not listed on any stock exchange. According to filings by the company with the registrar of companies, West Bengal, the company issued 30 crore shares with a face value of 1, at a premium of 99, on October 29, 2009. The number of allottees were 26,89,935. The company has also uploaded, on the RoC site, a long list of the share allottees. The shares have not been listed on any exchange. “The companies act and SEBI regulations are clear,” says Tejesh Chitlangi, a senior associate with Finsec Law Advisors: “Section 67 of The Companies Act construes an offering of shares or debentures to 50 or more persons as an offer or invitation to the public, for which norms listed out in SEBI Regulations would need to be followed. These include issuing of prospectus, compliance with the procedures and other disclosure norms.”

In response to a questionnaire sent by ET, Sahara spokesperson, Abhijit Sarkar said: “SICCL is an unlisted public limited company and does not intend to list its shares at any of the stock exchanges as decided by the board of directors of the company. Compliances with the SEBI Regulations are applicable for the listed companies as well the company who intend to get their shares listed on the stock exchanges.”

He said necessary board and shareholder approvals were taken. Further, the fact that the return of allotment was duly approved by RoC West Bengal was evidence that “required compliances for allotment of equity shares by the company are fully complied with”. According to Sahara, an approval from the RoC was given in September 2010.

Staying Away from the Street Sahara arm not listed on any stock exchange
The company: Sahara India Commercial Corporation

Business: Real Estate and infrastructure

No. of shareholders: 2.6 million Funds raised: Rs 3,000 crore

Type of company: Public, but unlisted

•Third-largest company in India today in terms of number of shareholders—behind Reliance Power and Reliance Industries

• As of March 2009, SICCL posted a loss before tax of Rs 449 cr, on revenues of Rs 1,600 cr
• Its balance-sheet size, as of March 2009, was Rs 8,591 cr. Over 80% of this, Rs 6,922 cr, was raised through OFCDs Two Share Allotments

Says Jayant Thakur, a chartered accountant specialising in securities law: “When a company raises funds from more than 50 people, it does not remain a private placement, but is a public issue. For this, listing requirements, as well as other SEBI norms must be followed.” SICCL, according to other filings with the RoC, is primarily a real estate and infrastructure developer. Documents filed by the company describe it as ‘perhaps one of the largest infrastructure and housing development company in India.” As of March 2009, the company posted a loss before tax of . 449 crore, on revenues of . 1,600 crore. SICCL’s balance-sheet size, as of March 2009, was . 8,591 crore. Of this, . 6,922 crore (over 80%) was raised through the issue of optionally fully convertible debentures, or OFCDs. OFCDs are bonds, which on maturity, and at the option of the investor, can be converted into equity shares.
Between March 2009 and June 2010, SICCL completed two share allotments—one for . 3,000 crore to 2.6 million investors, and the other of . 2,000 crore, done on June 30, 2010, to five private limited companies. Thus the total amount of shares issued by the company, as a result of these two allotments, was . 5,000 crore. It could not be ascertained whether the two share allotments arose as a result of the conversion of OFCDs, issued earlier by the company, into shares or whether these were standalone issues of shares to investors. Sahara Group did not give details about the circumstances under which the shares were issued.

According to SICCL’s debenture prospectus, shareholder approvals for OFCDs were given at seven different meetings held between 1998 and 2005 and were to be on private placement basis to “friends, associates, group companies, workers/employees and individuals having their association with group companies”. The OFCD issue opened on July 6, 1998, and closed on June 30, 2008. According to the debenture prospectus, the total size of the issue, spread over five types of bonds, and 10 years, was . 17,250 crore. The funds raised were to be used to finance a number of projects, including the development of the Aamby Valley project.

Late last year, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had banned two other Sahara Group companies—Sahara India real estate corporation (SIRECL), and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation(SHICL)—from raising funds from the public through the issue of OFCDs, without going through the necessary approvals and procedures required. The two companies claimed that they had not made a ‘public offer’ (defined as an offer to more than 50 investors), as claimed by SEBI, but had placed the debentures privately and among a few friends, associates and others close to the group. Therefore, the companies claimed, SEBI had no jurisdiction. The market regulator, disagreeing with the claim of a ‘private placement’, had imposed the ban.

The SEBI ban on the other two Sahara companies was stayed by the Allahabad High Court but the stay order was lifted earlier this month. SEBI has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court against the issuance of any ex-parte orders in the case (which are issued without one of the parties being present). Sahara is reported to have filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court as well, though this could not be confirmed.

Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh

Pakistan’s ISI spy agency has ‘militant links’ — Says US Military’s Top Officer

The US military’s top officer, Adm Mike Mullen, has accused Pakistan’s spy agency of having links with militants targeting troops in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had a “long-standing relationship” with a militant group run by Afghan insurgent Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Admiral Mike Mullen

USA Top Officer Adm Mike Mullen

The comments came as he held talks in Islamabad on Wednesday. Pakistani officials are also in the US for talks.

Pakistan routinely rejects charges of collusion with militants.

The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that US officials have in the past spoken anonymously or in circumspect terms about associations between the Pakistani establishment and insurgents.

But that with this blunt statement Adm Mullen has for the first time claimed a clear link between the two, our correspondent says.

“It’s fairly well known that the ISI has a long-standing relationship with the Haqqani network,” Adm Mullen told Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper.

“Haqqani is supporting, funding, training fighters that are killing Americans and killing coalition partners. And I have a sacred obligation to do all I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

He said the spy agency’s support of the network remained at the “core … and the most difficult part of the relationship” and that he would take it up with Pakistan’s army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani.

‘Negative propaganda’

But a senior Pakistani intelligence official told the Reuters news agency that the accusation was unfounded.

“If he means we’re providing them with protection, with help, that’s not correct,” the official, who wished to remain unnamed, told Reuters.

A statement from Gen Kayani, released after their meeting, rejected what it termed as “negative propaganda of Pakistan not doing enough”.

But the statement also said that the strategic relationship between the countries was important for their mutual security.

On Thursday Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir is scheduled to hold talks with US State Department officials in Washington, in what is being billed as an effort to improve relations.

US-Pakistan ties have struggled to recover following the row over CIA contractor Raymond Davis – who was arrested and later released after shooting dead two Pakistani men in Lahore. The case stoked anti-American feeling across Pakistan and led to angry demonstrations

Recent reports following a meeting between the heads of the countries’ spy agencies in Washington, suggested that Pakistan had demanded certain restrictions to the CIA’s activities in Pakistan.

Anti-US sentiment has also been exacerbated by US drone strikes targeting militants in the north-west of the country.

Drone anger

US drone attacks have escalated in north-west Pakistan since President Barack Obama took office. But they are hugely unpopular with the Pakistani public. Many militants, some of them senior, have been killed in the raids, but hundreds of civilians have also died.

The US does not routinely confirm it is conducting drone operations in Pakistan, but analysts say only American forces have the capacity to deploy such aircraft in the region.

Analysts believe that Haqqani’s insurgent network has been based in Pakistan since 2001, and that the ISI still exerts considerable influence over it.

The group has been blamed for some of the deadliest attacks on foreign troops across the border in Afghanistan.

Though the Pakistani military has routinely rejected any ties with the militants operating in Afghanistan, many analysts believe collaboration between the two is an open secret, our correspondent says.

Indeed analysts argue that Pakistan has always maintained links with some militant groups in order to try to influence events in neighbouring Afghanistan..

The timing of these remarks, our correspondent adds, suggests that the US is stepping up pressure on Pakistan to relinquish any links with Afghan militants ahead of the US forces’ impending withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh

Source: BBC

Wish HC gave him chance to present case: GBUAT V-C… [Every Body Has Right to be Heard]

Wish HC gave him chance to present case: GBUAT V-C… [Every Body Has Right to be Heard]

The Vice Chancellor of the GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (GBUAT), Pantnagar, Dr BS Bisht, in his reaction to the high court’s direction to register a case against him and his predecessor and some other senior officials of the university in a case of financial irregularities, has said that he has great respect for the judiciary and the court at least should have given him a chance to present his case also.

‘I have great respect for the court. But it did not give us any chance. Had the court given us an opportunity, we could have also been able to present our case,” the VC maintained, while talking to The Pioneer.

“I would like to state that since the same case had been dismissed by the district court some time back, so my request was had the court given us a chance, I myself or any other concerned officials could have appeared before it with all the facts and necessary documentary materials so that we could also have put our side before the court,” he said.

“The fact is that why should anyone indulge in such activities that may cause any kind of loss to the Government exchequer. So I am deeply hurt at this juncture,” Bisht further said. When asked what could be the next course of action of the university in this connection, the VC maintained: “I have not so far received the original copy of the case. So only after going through the original copy of court’s direction, we would decide.”

It is worth mentioning that Uttarakhand High Court in its judgment on a case of alleged financial irregularities filed by a person of Pantnagar against the GBPUAT has directed to file a case against Bisht, his predecessor, present finance controller and his processor and contractors.

In the complaint, it had been alleged that all the above mentioned officials in connivance with some private recruitment firms that used to supply labourers to the university caused a huge loss to the Government exchequer.

The complainant also alleged that a complaint was earlier also lodged at the local police station, but no action was taken. He also alleged that contractual labour system was introduced only to make quick bucks.

Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh

 

Source: Retrieved from http://www.dailypioneer.com/330044/Wish-HC-gave-him-chance-to-present-case-GBUAT-V-C.html on April 08, 2011

Action Against Vice Chancellors…..कुलपतियों पर कार्यवाही…… [जितना तुम्हारा सच है उतना ही कहो — फैज]

कुलपतियों पर कार्यवाही…… [जितना तुम्हारा सच है उतना ही कहो फैज]

वर्तमान परिवेश में सम्भवतः ‘मर्यादा’ शब्द निरर्थक हो गया है I ऐसा प्रतीत होता है कि भारतीय गणतंत्र के नागरिकों, व्यक्तियों, समूहों, संस्थानों आदि के लिए ‘स्वतंत्रता’ शब्द के पृथक – पृथक अर्थ हैं I भारतीय संविधान में ‘अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता’ को अत्यधिक महत्वपूर्ण मानते हुए प्रत्येक व्यक्ति को यह  मौलिक अधिकार के रूप में प्रदत्त की गयी है I इसी क्रम में समाचार तथा सूचना के श्रोतों को भारतीय प्रजातांत्रिक सरकार ने अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता प्रदान की है I परन्तु ‘ स्वतंत्रता’ शब्द के भाव एवं अर्थ को समझने व् आत्मसात करने हेतु ‘विवेक’ का उपस्थित होना अनिवार्य है I संभवतः समाचार माध्यमों ने इस शब्द का अर्थ ‘प्रतिबन्ध रहित’ अथवा ‘अनियंत्रित’  होने के रूप में ग्रहण किया है I यह स्थिति स्वयं में विस्फोटक है I यदि इस स्वतंत्रता को इस अर्थ में लेते हुए व्यावसायिक लाभ हेतु प्रयुक्त किया जाता है, तो वह न केवल इस शब्द, अपितु सम्पूर्ण प्रजातंत्र की अवमानना होगी I यदि इसका प्रयोग एक साधारण सूचना को व्यावसायिक लाभ हेतु ज्वलंत एवं गंभीर समस्या के रूप में प्रस्तुत करने हेतु किया जाता है, तथा इससे सामाजिक, नैतिक तथा राजस्व की क्षति होने कि आशंका हो, तो यह एक दुष्कर्म होगा तथा विधि एवं न्याय संगत कदापि नहीं होगा I

शीर्षक में वर्णित विषय के सन्दर्भ में माननीय न्यायाधीश महोदय द्वारा एक प्रार्थी की याचिका पर विचार करने के उपरांत एक प्राथिमिकी दर्ज करने के आदेश दिए गए थे, न कि गोविंद बल्लभ पंत कृषि एवं प्रौद्योगिकी विश्वविद्यालय में करोड़ों के घोटाले के आरोप को सत्य करार दिया गया था I  समाचार पत्र में इस तथ्य का कहीं भी वर्णन नहीं था कि न्यायाधीश महोदय का यह आदेश किन तथ्यों, परिस्थितियों, साक्ष्यों आदि पर आधारित था I ऐसे बहुतेरे प्रकरण ‘दैनिक जागरण’ के ऊपर भी न्यायालयों में लंबित होंगे I परन्तु समाचार पत्र ने असाधारण भाषा कौशल प्रस्तुत करते हुए इस समाचार को, जो संभवतः पृष्ट तृतीय लायक भी नहीं था, को  मुख्य पृष्ठ पर इस प्रकार मुद्रित किया जैसे वास्तविकता में करोड़ों का घोटाला हो गया हो और न्यायालय ने अपना निर्णय व्यक्त कर दिया हो I

पृथक पहलू से देखने पर प्रतीत होता है कि समाचार पत्र ने स्वयं को सर्वसक्तिमान मानते हुए न्यायालय की भूमिका निभा दी तथा न्यायालय एवं न्यायाधीश महोदयों के अस्तित्व को चुनौती दे दी I किसी भी व्यक्ति, समूह, संस्था इत्यादि को इस तथ्य का आभास होना आवश्यक है कि, वह जितना शक्तिशाली होता जाता है, समाज की उससे उसके मर्यादित होने की अपेक्षाएं उतनी ही बढती जाती है, तथा स्वयं उसकी जिम्मेदारी भी बढती जाती है I

इस प्रकार एक साधारण सूचना को असाधारण रूप से प्रस्तुत कर, समाचार पत्र ने केवल कुछ व्यक्तियों की छवि को ही मलीन नहीं किया, अपितु गोविन्द बल्लभ पन्त कृषि एवं प्रोद्योगिक विश्व विद्यालय, जो अपनी उपलब्धियों के लिए विश्व विख्यात है, तथा इस स्थान को प्राप्त करने में अपना योगदान प्रदान करने वाले सभी शिक्षकों, शोध शास्त्रीयों, तथा कृषि की नयी विधियों तथा तकनीकियों के कृषकों में प्रचार – प्रसार को अपना लक्ष्य मानाने वाले सभी व्यक्तियों की अवमानना की है I

इस मान हानि को व्यावसायिक मुद्रा के माध्यम में व्यक्त कर पाना संभव नहीं है, परन्तु आशा है कि समाचार पत्र को कुछ सौ भारतीय मुद्राओं का लाभ अवश्य अर्जित हो गया होगा I संभावना प्रबल है कि इससे समाचार पत्र समूह को सीमित राजनीतिक तथा परोक्ष (प्रचार मुद्रा से आय)  आर्थिक लाभ अर्जित हुआ हो I वैसे वर्तमान में समाचार माध्यम समाज को दिशा देने के स्थान पर समाज का मनोरंजन करने के स्रोत बन गए हैं I

अगले मनोरंजक अंक की प्रतीक्षा में ….. एक समाचार पाठक

संपर्क स्रोत

नाम : सौरभ सिंह

इ मेल : saurabhsingh@consultant.com; saurabh@aavesh.org

 

Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh

My Journey on Path of E-Commerce: A Recollection

The effort here is not to deliberate on the History of Computers and or Internet, but since it turns out to be a brief but vital component of total deliberations if any is being made on providing or seeking or exchanging any product, service, information etc. using Internet as a medium.  Instead of starting the sentence “long long ago….”, like in many other field, here story starts with the set words “In very recent past….” .

The deregulation of Internet and it’s use for Commerce is recent as just four decades. Today it would not be wrong if one makes an inference that it happens to be largest market place. It has also succeeded in turning itself near to indispensable and a good number of people can not imagine their daily life in its absence. As a tool of exchanging information and thought, it has even left behind the devices like telephone, fax, mobile telephony etc. by miles. Even we have the examples, though of very recent nature, that few less popular national government, when faced by some kind of event which was called by media as uprising, made internet their first target to breakdown the communication flow taking place in citizens. The case of “EGYPT” and “LIBYA” are a burning and recent example of this.

Initially there was some sense of fear amongst the people who were stakeholders in business. These stakeholder can never alone be the Business Men, they also included the beside established business houses, the Entrepreneurs,  students of business, the academic and scholarly community dealing with issues related to the domain of business, the customers around whom business revolves, and certainly a few more individuals who comprise those who thought it to be fad and expected it to die an immature death.

Here, the stage is ripe for sharing few anecdotes especially Indian to give a practical understanding of how these developments moved from nearly nowhere to everywhere. Prior to starting on it, Helpman and Trajtenberg (1998) were of the opinion that “In any given era there typically exist a handful of technologies that play a far reaching role in widely fostering technical change and thereby bringing about sustained and pervasive productivity gains.” On the similar lines Norman (1999) said that “The goal is to move from current situation of complexity and frustration to one where technology serves human needs invisibly, unobtrusively: the human centered and customer centered way.”

Now coming to Anecdotes:

1. It was perhaps Year 2000 or 2001, when I happened to give entrance examination for pursuing Ph. D. Program at Indian Institute of Information Technology & Management, Gwalior, when it was still functioning in old building. Till then I was not aware that I would be lucky enough to make my career in academics, scholarly and research work, and also in transfer of technology to masses, though I wanted to do it.

They used to conduct a written test followed by interview for admitting research scholars. Luckily or otherwise, I cleared the written test to qualify for next stage, that was personal interview. There I was interested in pursuing my research in E- Commerce. That was also a time when an e-Commerce initiative with the help of internet initiated by Shoppers’ Stop had met a debacle. All through the interview while I was trying my best to convince them that e-Commerce was the very near future, the interview board was interested in making me believe that penetration of computer required for that would never happen in India and they topped their argument by quoting the example of debacle of Shoppers’ Stop. Besides it the board also wanted to convince me on importance of bandwidth and its importance for e-Commerce, suggesting me to work on it, as it was a must for success of the concept I was arguing, but then I was least interested as it was a work for a Technical Degree Holder and not my cup of tea with MBA preceded by ZBC. Ultimately we could not land on a common platform and it could be said that they rejected me or I myself worked to get rejected.

Nearly the same got repeated at NITIE Pawai Mumbai same year. I would elaborate on it next time when I get chance to further elaborate on it. Its late night and I plan to close writing at this moment. hope spelling mistakes if any would be pardoned.

 

Always Yours — As Usual —- Saurabh Singh

 

 

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