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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Qingwen Dong

First Committee Member

Roy Childs

Second Committee Member

Alan Ray


Changes in the global marketplace have led to an increased emphasis on high quality customer service. Highly committed and satisfied employees are integral to developing a loyal and consistent customer base. Principles of organizational communication and trust, the learning and teaching organization, and the Baldrige assessment are integrated into an organizational structure that is Built to Serve all customers, both internally and externally. The literature review aims to enhance the current literature by connecting the interrelated concepts of organizational change, customer service, learning, teaching, communication, trust, and assessment.

This qualitative study examined an organization, NetWork, to determine its readiness level to become an organization that is Built to Serve all of its customers. NetWork is a governmental agency that manages employment issues in a county in California. The NetWork customers were categorized into six groups; unemployed job seekers, low income job seekers, employers, youth, service providers/trainers, and staff members. Eighteen focus groups were conducted to ascertain the perceptions and attitudes each customer group had ofNetWork and of relevant employment issues as well as to ascertain the relationship between the customer groups. An interview guide was developed for each of the customer groups to guide the discussions. The total sample size was 166 focus groups participants.

The focus group transcripts were analyzed to determine strengths and weaknesses of the current organizational structure as well as to generate strategic development suggestions for the organization to become one that is Built to Serve all customers. The results from the analysis of the transcripts indicated several limitations in the current organizational structure as well as multiple incongruent perceptions that exist between the customer groups. Twelve research questions are examined and evidence is introduced to answer each question. The results are then interpreted in the discussion section. Recommendations for NetWork to become an organization that is Built to Serve are suggested.



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