Exploring the impact of communication effectiveness on service quality, trust and relationship commitment in IT services 

  • a Graduate School of Information, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • b Department of Computer Information Systems, Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
  • c Mid Sweden University, Information Technology and Management, Sundsvall, Sweden


Most firms today are served by specialized IT service providers for the development and maintenance of their business information systems. During the IT service encounter, service providers and clients interact throughout the project, exchanging information, sharing knowledge and making critical decisions. From the IT service provider's viewpoint, it is important to raise the level of clients’ relationship commitment during this service encounter as their business continuity depends upon clients assessment. Intuitively, effective communication and effective service quality, mediated by trust, are critical factors in raising the level of relationship commitment. This study proposes an empirical model consisting of four critical antecedents of relationship commitment (communication effectiveness, technical service quality, functional service quality and trust) and then tests the model using data points solicited from two global firms. Study results revealed that trust is a strong mediator for relationship commitment while functional, rather than technical, service quality is a stronger mediator in forming the clients’ trust.


► Communication enhances trust, leading to stronger level of relationship commitment from the clients’ perspective in IT services. ► Sound technical service quality is necessary but not sufficiently satisfactory condition in IT services. ► Functional, as well as technical, service quality matters even in IT services. ► Training of consultants on communication skills may warrant retention of clients in IT services. ► Knowledge exchange occurs continuously in IT services, before, during and after the delivery of services.


  • IT services
  • Communication effectiveness
  • Service quality
  • Functional service quality
  • Technical service quality
  • Trust
  • Relationship commitment

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