Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

School

Management

Advisor

Steven C. Tippina

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to allow debt collectors to share their views about their work and to give more insight to collection leaders into lived experiences of debt collectors and the social stigma associated with collection work. This study explores potential reasons for the negative stereotypes, high turnover, performance outcomes, and stress experienced by the participants of this study. Additionally, this study adds new data to the limited amount of existing data on debt collectors by exploring emotional labor within the collections industry and determining collectors' levels of job satisfaction. Guided by Maslow's hierarchy of needs model, this phenomenological study elicited collectors' direct and tacit knowledge on job satisfaction. Interview data were collected from 10 collectors recruited through social media. Interviews were transcribed and themes were identified, highlighted, and compiled with like themes to form individual written reports. Common themes highlighted the role of the debt collector, essential skills, performance factors, breaking stigma, related anxiety and stress, support of coworkers and management, job satisfaction, and recommendations for improvement. This study promotes positive social change through themes that can be used to reduce debt collector stress related to negative consumer behavior by introducing new policies within the collections industry. This knowledge will also support the need for reversal of negative debt collector stereotypes through encouraging natural conversations with debtors versus rigid scripting of collectors. Lack of scripts will promote authentic interactions, assist in collector image reform, and augment collector job satisfaction. Improved job satisfaction will assist in reducing turnover, strengthen collection metrics, improve company profits, and motivate debtors to pay without feeling harassed.