Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Lilburn Hoehn

Abstract

The number of service-oriented jobs has increased locally and nationally, and organizations are spending millions of dollars to train front-line employees to maintain customer satisfaction and compete in the service industry. Despite the financial investments of these training programs, little research has investigated the holistic effectiveness of customer-focused training (CFT) programs. Researchers found positive relationships between the constructs under investigation and reported that when CFT programs are delivered on a consistent basis with leadership support, they help build a service-oriented culture. The purpose of this case study was to investigate employee perceptions of CFT and relationships between performance, engagement, and building a service-oriented culture, where the questions were designed to address front-line employees in the transit system of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The conceptual framework for this study was by Service Quality, where the concepts for the framework support organizational culture and social exchange. The total number of participants was 36 with 27 for interviews and 9 for a focus group. The participants were selected using a purposeful sampling approach. The data were analyzed by coding for categories, themes, and patterns to reflect in-depth understanding and reporting of CFT among front-line employees. The participants felt that CFT programs were beneficial for them and could help improve customer service. Given these findings, similarly-situated employees may view training in a positive light and may be willing to engage in more training to improve customer service. Human resource personnel may be encouraged from the positive results of this study to develop and implement more training, which may help employees and leaders build a credible service-oriented culture.