Measuring and Improving Productivity in Services: Issues, Strategies and Challenges

The question of how to measure and improve productivity in services has been a recurrent topic in political debates and in academic studies for several decades. The concept of productivity, which was developed initially for industrial and agricultural economies poses few difficulties when applied to standardized products. The advent of the service economy contributed to call into question, if not the relevance of this concept, at least its definition and measurement methods. This book takes stock of the issues met by productivity in services on theoretical, methodological and operational levels. The authors examine various definitions of productivity and the main methods of its measurement. A survey of recent conceptual and methodological debates on the notion of productivity is also presented. A more operational and strategic perspective is then adopted in order to identify and analyze the main levers, factors and determinants for improving productivity and, more generally, the actual strategies adopted for this purpose in firms and organisations. Providing a deep understanding of the specific and underestimated performance processes within service industries, this book will be of great interest to those involved in industrial economics, management science and public administration.