|dc.description.abstract||The aim of this paper is to gain an understanding of how public and private strategy
differs within the context of health clubs in Edinburgh. More specifically the
organisations within this research were Virgin Active, an organisation who boasts the
highest standard within the health club industry, and Edinburgh Leisure, a prominent
public health club based within Edinburgh.
This study will aim to investigate the differences in strategy between the two
organisations and understand how they are able to gain competitive advantage to
compete in the market. This study is significant to the pace at which the health club
industry is growing; they can adopt the methods and techniques used by the subjects
of this study to gain their advantage. This study will look to answer the following
• To gain better understanding of how corporate level strategy is communicated to
the operational level and how strategy is then put into practice.
• To evaluate how a public and private organisation's capabilities and resources
allow it to compete in the market.
• To understand further how an organisation's core strategic principles (vision and
objectives) have a direct impact on how the company operates.
• To gain an understanding of how customer service and quality vary in public and
private health clubs and whether this impacts customer loyalty.
A qualitative approach was used in this study to achieve the research objectives,
through conducting interviews with both managers and consumers of both Edinburgh Leisure and Virgin Active. Following evaluation of the various methods, interviews
were considered the most appropriate option due to the in-depth information that can
be achieved as compared to quantitative methods. The data was then transcribed
and coded into the separate themes that stemmed from the literature review. This
allowed for a comparison of the data to be made and a discussion to be formed.
The results showed much of the research agreed with the literature and it could be
seen that both the organisations followed the strategic map, where the public
organisation considered the customers needs first, as compared to the private
organisation that first considered profit first. The results also showed that although
the consumers of the health clubs were happy with the level of customer service, it
was clear that it was important to ensure that the organisations' distinctive
capabilities were used effectively if they wished to compete effectively in the market
and increase and retain their customer base.
This study was restricted to Edinburgh due to locational restrictions, however for the
generalisability of the study, methods could be replicated to investigate various
health clubs in other cities and councils.||