Polyakova, Olga and Mirza, Mohammed T. (2016) Service quality models in the context of the fitness industry. Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, 6 (3). ISSN 2042-678X


This paper aims to reviews the concept of perceived service quality in the fitness industry by considering the service-dominant logic (Vargo and Lusch, 2004) and examining existing service quality models in the context of sport and fitness.


The paper critically reviews generic and industry-specific models of service quality in the fitness industry. The examination of the models is intended to identify the role that the perspective of customers and the dynamics of service co-creation play in these models.


Consideration of the context in a particular industry plays an important role in the development of service quality models. If underestimated, it can result in a model being inadequate or having limited explanatory potential. The review shows that both generic and fitness industry-specific models have methodological and conceptual limitations. This requires researchers to consider developing new contextual models that acknowledge a) service as co-creation of experience/value between suppliers and customers; and, b) the goal of this co-creation as fulfilment of customers’ aspirations. Such an approach brings a new light to the meaning of ‘a customer’s perspective’ and emphasises the dynamics of service co-creation in the fitness industry.

Practical implications

The study provides an agenda for future research to consider perceived service quality models from the customers’ perspective. It suggests researchers to take into account various factors of consumer behaviour (e.g. motivation) which are unique to sport and fitness services. Also, managers of fitness facilities need to revisit their tools for capturing customers' perceptions and to update the areas included in customer satisfaction surveys.


The paper provides an insight into the role of co-creation for service quality in fitness services. It contributes towards establishing revised relations between service quality in fitness and contextual industry-specific factors suggested by numerous studies previously.

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