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Theme Park Employee Satisfaction, Relationship Marketing Orientation and Customer Orientation

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Title:
Theme Park Employee Satisfaction, Relationship Marketing Orientation and Customer Orientation
Creator:
WAGENHEIM, MATTHEW THOMAS
Copyright Date:
2008

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Subjects / Keywords:
Amusement parks ( jstor )
Customer satisfaction ( jstor )
Customers ( jstor )
Employees ( jstor )
Job satisfaction ( jstor )
Labor ( jstor )
Marketing ( jstor )
Marketing strategies ( jstor )
Organizational communication ( jstor )
Product lines ( jstor )
City of Gainesville ( local )

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Matthew Thomas Wagenheim. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Embargo Date:
5/31/2016
Resource Identifier:
658179932 ( OCLC )

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THEME PARK EMPLOYEE SATISFACT ION, RELATIONSHIP MARKETING ORIENTATION AND CUSTOMER ORIENTATION By MATTHEW THOMAS WAGENHEIM A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

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Copyright 2006 by Matthew Thomas Wagenheim

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For my parents who made education a priority.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and foremost, I thank my wife Kelly. This work would not have been possible without her love, motivation, and never-ending faith in my ability. Her strength is a continued inspiration to me. I thank my children Matthew and Eric. Their unconditional love gave me the encouragement to continue working during the most challenging times. I thank my parents George and Charlotte Wagenheim. They instilled in me the value of education. They expected my best in everything I did and never lost faith in my ability. I thank my brothers and sister. They have always been available whenever I needed them. I thank my in-laws Gerald and Carolyn Kribs who have continually provided their love and support. I want to thank a very dedicated group of people at the University of Florida. I thank Dr. Stephen Anderson for his invaluable support and guidance. I thank Dr. Charles Williams who taught me the value of detail. I thank Dr. Bertha Cato who provided valuable consultation, and detailed recommendations. I thank Dr. Richard Lutz whose insight and advice will always be appreciated. I thank Dr. Stephen Holland who generously provided his support over the length of my time in Gainesville. Many more people who have provided support during this long process deserve thanks. I thank my fellow graduate students at the University of Florida, in particular, my buddy Syd for lending his advice, his support, and his ear. I thank all the staff in the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management, especially Donna Walker who was always available with information and support. Finally, I want to thank Dr. iv

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Linda Behar-Horenstein whom I met early in my studies at the University of Florida. She so thoroughly proofed an early draft of my proposal and provided such valuable insight that she reinforced my belief in my abilities as a student and impacted me as a teacher. v

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES .............................................................................................................ix LIST OF FIGURES .............................................................................................................x ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................xi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Scope of the Problem....................................................................................................2 Job Satisfaction......................................................................................................3 Communication Satisfaction.................................................................................4 Customer Orientation............................................................................................5 Relationship Marketing.........................................................................................8 Need for the Study......................................................................................................13 Theoretical Framework...............................................................................................16 Social Exchange Theory......................................................................................16 Equity Theory......................................................................................................16 Research Questions.....................................................................................................18 Limitations and Delimitations....................................................................................19 Summary.....................................................................................................................20 2 LITERATURE REVIEW...........................................................................................21 Customer Satisfaction.................................................................................................21 Satisfaction in Leisure Settings...........................................................................23 Antecedents to Satisfaction.................................................................................25 Service Encounter................................................................................................28 Customer Orientation..................................................................................................30 Job Satisfaction...........................................................................................................35 Communication Satisfaction.......................................................................................40 Relationship Marketing..............................................................................................44 Definitions...........................................................................................................47 Internal Marketing...............................................................................................50 Relationship Marketing Dimensions...................................................................56 vi

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Summary.....................................................................................................................66 3 METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................................72 Statement of Purpose..................................................................................................72 Presentation of Hypotheses.........................................................................................73 Objective 1...........................................................................................................73 Objective 2...........................................................................................................75 Objective 3...........................................................................................................76 Objective 4...........................................................................................................78 Survey Instrument Development................................................................................78 Dependent Variable.............................................................................................80 Independent Variables.........................................................................................80 Scales...................................................................................................................83 Customer Orientation...................................................................................83 Communication Satisfaction........................................................................86 Job Satisfaction............................................................................................87 Relationship Marketing Orientation.............................................................88 Selection of Respondents............................................................................................89 Collection of Data.......................................................................................................90 Data Analysis..............................................................................................................93 Summary.....................................................................................................................97 4 FINDINGS..................................................................................................................98 Respondent Profile..............................................................................................98 Reliability of the Survey Instrument...................................................................99 Means and Standard Deviations on Measured Variables..................................101 Independent Variables................................................................................101 Dependent Variable....................................................................................104 Correlation Analysis..........................................................................................105 Chi-Square Analysis..........................................................................................106 Null Hypotheses................................................................................................106 Simple Linear Regression..................................................................................106 Independent Samples T-Test.............................................................................114 Factor Analysis..................................................................................................115 Factor 1 – Trust..........................................................................................119 Factor 2 – Employee Responsibility..........................................................120 Factor 3 – Communication.........................................................................120 Summary...................................................................................................................120 5 DISCUSSION...........................................................................................................123 Introduction...............................................................................................................123 Study Objectives and Major Findings......................................................................125 Objective 1.........................................................................................................125 Objective 2.........................................................................................................128 vii

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Objective 3.........................................................................................................130 Objective 4.........................................................................................................131 Relationship Marketing Orientation at the Individual Front Line Employee....131 Level..................................................................................................................131 Relationship Marketing Orientation at the Individual Front Line Employee....134 Level and Customer Orientation.......................................................................134 Managerial Implications...........................................................................................134 Homogeneity of Service Providers....................................................................134 Organizational Communication.........................................................................136 Job Satisfaction..................................................................................................139 Relationship Marketing Orientation..................................................................141 Summary and Conclusions.......................................................................................142 Limitations of the Study and Recommendations for Future Research..............142 Limitations.................................................................................................142 Recommendations for Future Research.....................................................145 Summary............................................................................................................148 APPENDIX A SURVEY INSTRUMENT........................................................................................150 B 105 ITEM RELATIONSHIP MARKETING ORIENTATION SURVEY INSTRUMENT.........................................................................................................162 C 81 ITEM RELATIONSHIP MARKETING ORIENTATION SURVEY INSTRUMENT.........................................................................................................167 D 55 ITEM RELATIONSHIP MARKETING ORIENTATION SURVEY INSTRUMENT.........................................................................................................171 E PRE SURVEY COVER LETTER............................................................................174 F SURVEY COVER LETTER FIRST DISTRIBUTION...........................................175 G SURVEY COVER LETTER FIRST DISTRIBUTION TO NON RESPONDENTS......................................................................................................177 H SURVEY COVER LETTER SECOND DISTRIBUTION TO NON RESPONDENTS......................................................................................................179 I INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD (IRB) APPROVAL....................................181 LIST OF REFERENCES.................................................................................................182 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................203 viii

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Demographic Characteristics of Respondents..........................................................99 4-2 Reliability Coefficients of Scales used in the Study..............................................101 4-3 Means and Standard Deviations for Job Satisfaction Dimensions.........................102 4-4 Means and Standard Deviations for Communication Satisfaction Dimensions.....103 4-5 Means and Standard Deviations for Relationship Marketing Orientation.............104 4-6 Means and Standard Deviations for Customer Orientation....................................105 4-7 Intercorrelations Between Customer Orientation (DV) and all Continuous Independent Variables............................................................................................105 4-8 Regression Analysis Summary for Satisfaction with People at Work Predicting Customer Orientation.............................................................................................110 4-9 Regression Analysis Summary for Relationship Marketing Orientation Predicting Customer Orientation............................................................................114 4-10 Regression Analysis Summary Predicting Customer Orientation.........................114 4-11 Factor Analysis Results of Relationship Marketing Orientation Items..................118 4-12 Major Findings of This Study................................................................................120 ix

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3-1 Sample Size Determination Formula.......................................................................80 4-1 Scree Plot of Relationship Marketing Orientation Items.......................................118 x

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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THEME PARK EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION, RELATIONSHIP MARKETING ORIENTATION, AND CUSTOMER ORIENTATION By Matthew Thomas Wagenheim May 2006 Chair: Stephen Anderson Major Department: Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management For decades the American business model has focused on increasing market share as a key to maximizing profits and concentrated on attracting new customers instead of retaining existing ones. As with all service organizations, theme parks face a variety of challenges including increased competition, recession, downsizing, a more demanding customer, and increased government regulation and intervention. Developing a relationship with today’s customer has become a necessary component of a successful business strategy. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between front line employee satisfaction (including satisfaction with various dimensions of organizational communication) and customer orientation. This study also developed a measure of relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level and studied the relationship between employee relationship marketing orientation and customer xi

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orientation. Social Exchange Theory and Equity Theory were used as theoretical frameworks to help explain the relationships found. Data for this study were collected through the use of a survey instrument distributed to 301 front line employees of a regional theme park in the southeast United States. Regression analysis was used to test the relationships between employee satisfaction and customer orientation, and between employee relationship marketing orientation and customer orientation. Factor analysis was used to explore the dimensionality of relationship marketing orientation measured at the individual employee level. Results showed that relationship marketing orientation can be measured at the individual front line employee level and that employees holding a high relationship marketing orientation also hold a high customer orientation. Results also showed that employees who are more satisfied with the relationship they enjoy with co-workers have a higher customer orientation. The results of this study represent a valuable tool for theme park managers. Because an organizational relationship with customers has become necessary for success, the interaction between front line employees and the customer has become even more important. Through proper orientation and training, organizations can instill their relationship philosophy to front line employees and increase not only individual employee relationship marketing orientation, but also customer orientation. xii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION International and domestic travel has boomed in the past 50 years. Reasonably priced accommodations are located just about anywhere on the globe; jet airplanes can carry passengers worldwide for relatively little cost, and travelers can even book tours or arrange itineraries without having to leave the comfort of their homes. By the year 2020, the World Tourism Organization anticipates the number of people who travel for pleasure will reach 1.6 billion. Today, worldwide travel and tourism has an estimated economic impact of 4.7 trillion dollars and employs (directly or indirectly) more than 220 million people (World Tourism Organization, 2004). Theme parks are a popular leisure time and tourist destination in the United States and worldwide. There are more than 450 theme parks in North America alone (Wild Adventures buck industry attendance trends, 2003), with the top 50 parks attracting 168 million visitors in 2004 (Theme parks attendance increases in 2004, 2004). There was a time when theme parks represented a unique recreational offering. Organizations were able to operate with limited competition, and could automatically count on a share of increasing tourism revenues. In the last 30 years, however, the number of operating theme parks has increased, driving competition. An increased number of parks, coupled with lower travel costs (e.g., airline deregulation, more accessibility by car), have given the traveler a greater choice. In addition to direct competition, theme parks are competing for visitors with a variety of other attractions, 1

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2 including museums and galleries, state and county parks, as well as natural areas (Lewis & Clacher, 2001). Increased access to a similar product has resulted in greater consumer leverage and demand for quality service. Consumers today expect quality products and services delivered in a way that satisfies their unique expectations. Organizations can no longer afford to compete on price or product attributes alone. For organizations (both service organizations and traditional manufacturers of goods), the product itself is less a point of competitive advantage. Even continuous product development typically will not lead to a sustainable competitive advantage; only the associated service remains for differentiation (Gronroos, 2004). Scope of the Problem For decades the American business model focused on increasing market share as the key to maximizing profits. To this end, organizations concentrated on attracting new customers instead of retaining existing ones (Griffin, 2002). The business environment changed drastically throughout the 1990s and has continued to change into the new century. Organizations have faced a variety of challenges: increased competition, recession, downsizing, a more demanding consumer, and increased government regulation and intervention (Burke, 1999). The notion of a close relationship with customers, although not a new one (Gronroos, 2004), has become a necessary component of a successful business strategy. A variety of research within services has suggested that long term relationships with customers are necessary in order to gain a competitive advantage (Berry, 1983; Gronroos, 1981). Burke (1999) stated, “In an increasing competitive environment, maintaining current clients and attracting new ones has become critical to survival, let alone growth” (p. 53). At the

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3 same time, researchers have argued that organizations are not doing enough to stem customer defection (Reicheld, 1996a). The traditional marketing approach (addressing the product, price, place of distribution, and promotion dimensions) was inadequate in addressing the unique challenges that arose within the relationship context. An increased emphasis on employee satisfaction, customer orientation and the recognition of relationship marketing as a distinct organizational approach grew out of this need to service customers on a more intimate level. Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction encompasses all aspects of employment that have an influence on the employee including whether the employee is happy to go to work, perceives the job as meaningful, what perceptions the employee holds of the organization, and any other impact either physical or psychological (Eskildsen & Nussler, 2000). Locke (1976) defined job satisfaction as “. . . a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences” (p.1300). Brooke, Russell, and Price (1988) defined job satisfaction as the extent to which a person likes his or her job. Variables that can impact job satisfaction include experience, education and age (Hackman & Oldham, 1980). Job satisfaction has been studied in a variety of relationships, including organizational climate (Payne, Fineman, & Wall, 1976), job roles (Schuler, 1979), supervision (Downey, Sheridan, & Slocum, 1975), and communication satisfaction (Pincus, 1986). Although studies vary methodologically, findings generally show that the more trust, participation, and openness subordinates feel between themselves and a superior, the more satisfied the subordinate is likely to be with his or her job (and organization). Researchers have identified four key factors that impact job

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4 satisfaction. First, rewards and recognition have been shown to contribute to job satisfaction. Some researchers have identified extrinsic rewards, including salary and benefits as the most important factors for retaining employees, while others contend that intrinsic rewards such as working conditions, status, and security drive employee satisfaction (Leavitt, 1996; Savery, 1996). Personal choice and development have been identified as a second factor that impacts employee satisfaction. Employees are not driven by pay and benefits alone; some value career development as important to satisfaction (Leavitt, 1996). A third dimension shown to impact employee satisfaction is a work and life balance. The association between job satisfaction and life satisfaction has been widely studied. Some researchers have argued that the interaction between employee satisfaction and life satisfaction is directional (i.e., either employee satisfaction impacting life satisfaction, or life satisfaction impacting employee satisfaction; Bauer, 2000), while other researchers argue that it is reciprocal (Hagedorn & Sax, 1999). A final dimension shown to impact employee satisfaction is training and development. Howard and Frink (1996) showed that employees who perceive growth opportunities are more satisfied. Job satisfaction, job involvement (the degree to which a person is absorbed, or preoccupied with his or her job), and organizational commitment (the degree of loyalty or attachment felt by employees toward the organization) have been shown to be distinctly different constructs (Brooke, Russell, & Price, 1988). A primary goal of increasing employee satisfaction is increasing employee commitment to the organization. Communication Satisfaction Theme parks use their environment to communicate to visitors (and employees). Service failure may “. . . occur due to a lack of, or inaccurate,

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5 communications and result in both unhappy customers and frustrated employees” (Lewis & Clacher, 2001, p. 173). Communication is both formal and informal exchanges of “ . . . meaningful and timely. . . ” information between parties within the relationship (Sin, Tse, Yau, Chow, Lee & Lau, 2005). When employee communication satisfaction is low (i.e., poor organizational communication), outcomes include lower employee commitment, increased absenteeism, higher employee turnover, and reduced productivity (Hargie, Tourish, & Wilson, 2002). For individual employees, poor organizational communication can result in burnout, increased stress, and increased uncertainty about the self, others, relationships, or situations (Ray, 1993). Many organizations use complaints as their chief source of customer feedback (Evans & Laskin, 1994). This form of customer monitoring is inadequate. Many more customers than those who actually complain typically have the same feelings. This group is missed entirely if an organization only monitors actual complaints. Evans and Laskin (1994) recommend the key information source as an alternative to monitoring complaints alone. Key information may include surveys, customer call management, and front line employee feedback. A first step in implementing an effective organizational communication strategy is to determine the current communication state (Hargie, Tourish, & Wilson, 2002). Organizations must develop communication goals for the future, and involve employees in successful implementation (Clampitt, De Koch, & Cashman, 2000). Customer Orientation A customer oriented organizational culture is critical for a service firm’s success (Parasuraman, 1987). Customer oriented service providers behave in ways

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6 designed to foster long term customer satisfaction (Howe, Hoffman, & Hardigree, 1994). Because organizational culture cannot be easily copied by the competition, it represents a sustainable competitive advantage (Parasuraman, 1987). Deshpande, Farley, & Webster (1994) see customer orientation as a part of an overall corporate culture and argue that simply focusing on the needs of customers is inadequate without “ . . . consideration of the more deeply rooted set of values and beliefs that are likely to consistently reinforce such a customer focus. . . ” (p. 27). Williams and Attaway (1996) proposed that a salesperson’s customer oriented behavior was antecedent to the development of a buyer-seller relationship. Customer oriented employee behavior leads to long term satisfaction with an emphasis of long-term rather than short-term results (Dunlap, Dotson, & Chambers, 1988; Saxe & Weitz, 1982). Additionally, increased focus on customer satisfaction is a key to building long-term relationships. Brown, Mowen, Donavan, and and Licata (2002) define customer orientation as “ . . . an employee’s tendency or predisposition to meet customer needs in an on-the-job context” (p. 111). This definition is composed of a needs dimension (an employee’s belief in the ability to satisfy customer needs) and an enjoyment dimension (degree to which serving customers is enjoyable). Brown, Mowen, Donavan, and Licata (2002) state “ . . . both components are necessary to fully understand a service worker’s ability and motivation to serve customers by meeting their needs” (p. 111). Saxe and Weitz (1982) define customer oriented selling as “ . . . the degree to which salespeople practice the marketing concept by trying to help their customers make purchase decisions that will satisfy customer needs” (p. 344).

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7 Deshpande, Farley, and Webster (1994) define customer orientation as “ . . . the set of beliefs that puts the customer’s interest first, while not excluding those of all other stakeholders such as owners, managers, and employees, in order to develop a long term profitable enterprise” (p. 27). In a longitudinal study involving organizational alliances (both competitive alliances and those within the marketing channel), Rindfleisch and Moorman (2003) defined customer orientation as “ . . . the set of behaviors and beliefs that places a priority on customers’ interests and continuously creates superior customer value” (p. 422). Front line employees are typically responsible for implementing an organization’s marketing concept. Although some researchers have used the terms market orientation and customer orientation synonymously (see Ghani & Deshpande, 1994), the majority of researchers recognize market orientation and customer orientation as distinct constructs. Conduit and Movondo (2001) found that internal customer orientation and market orientation are distinct constructs, with internal customer orientation positively related to market orientation. Conduit and Mavondo (2001) state, “From a managerial perspective, an organization should strive to develop, maintain, and enhance both an internal customer and a market orientation concurrently” (p. 19). In the literature, researchers using the terms market orientation and relationship marketing orientation are (typically) describing the same construct: “ . . . the relationship marketing paradigm focuses on longer term customer satisfaction and value added selling through the implementation of customer oriented strategies” (Williams & Attaway, 1996, p. 34). For this study, the terms market orientation and

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8 relationship marketing orientation were used synonymously while customer orientation was recognized as a distinct construct. Relationship Marketing Although the term relationship marketing was first introduced by Berry (1983), the underlying philosophies behind its implementation have been explored since the early 1970s. There continues to be debate, however, among academics as to what comprises a relationship marketing orientation (or strategy) (Blois, 1996). Lehtinen (1996) argued that relationship marketing has not been clearly defined in the literature, while others have said it has become a catch all phrase used to represent a variety of different marketing perspectives, including database and electronic marketing (Blois, 1996). Other researchers have agreed. Bejou (1997) stated, "...after a decade of research, relationship marketing is still in its infancy, there is little agreement as to what relationship marketing is, how it is defined, how it is formed, and to what extent it is useful" (p. 730). Shani and Chalasani (1992) define relationship marketing as " . . . an integrated effort to identify, maintain, and build up a network with individual consumers and to continuously strengthen the network for the mutual benefit of both sides, through interactive, individualized, and value added contacts over a long period of time” (p.34). This definition encompasses the long term orientation proposed by Doyle and Thomas (1992), the need to work toward common goals (Buttle, 1996), and the recommendation that all marketing activity should be directed toward establishing, developing and maintaining relationships (Morgan & Hunt, 1994). Morgan and Hunt (1994) developed a broader definition of relationship marketing to include those relational exchanges that not only involve external customers, but strategic alliances (including business-to-business and

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9 government-to-business). They define relationship marketing as " . . . all marketing activities directed toward establishing, developing, and maintaining successful relational exchanges" (p.22). To begin to understand relationship marketing, it is important to understand the distinction between a discrete transaction and a relational exchange. Relationship marketing is " . . . characterized by reciprocal, interdependent, committed, and long term relationships between sellers and buyers . . . " (Sin, Tse, Yau, Lee, & Chow, 2002, p. 185). A discrete transaction has " . . . a distinct beginning, short duration, and sharp ending by performance" (Dwyer, Schurr, & Oh, 1987, p. 13). Time is the critical determinant between discrete and relationship transactions. Dwyer, Schurr, and Oh (1987) state, “Discrete transactions are characterized by very limited communications and narrow content” (p.12). Traditional approaches to marketing (which focus on the product, price, place of distribution, and promotion) are still appropriate for discrete transactions but are inadequate when dealing with long term relationships. Relationship marketing has gained in popularity for a number of reasons. According to Berry (1995) there has been an increased focus on services marketing as a distinctly different approach versus product marketing. Improved service quality has been seen as a way to improve loyalty (and repeat purchase). Potential benefits to the organization through successful relationship marketing are being realized. With increasing competition both internationally and domestically, organizations have moved toward protecting existing customer bases. It has been shown that organizations can increase profits as they lower their customer defection rate

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10 (Reicheld & Sasser, 1990), as loyal customers generate more revenue, and maintaining existing customers is typically less expensive than attracting new ones (Berry, 1995). Organizations are beginning to realize that successful relationship marketing (in addition to providing organizational benefits) provides benefits to customers. When customers encounter excellent service, they want to become loyal. Remaining loyal reduces purchase decision risk. Other benefits include continuity of service, proactive service approach and customized service delivery (Berry, 1995). Finally, there has been an increased focus on relationship marketing due in part to technological advances. Advances in information technology and a lower cost to access technology have allowed organizations to more efficiently perform key relationship marketing tasks (Berry, 1995). Organizations can now track customers by pattern, more easily customize services, coordinate deliveries, communicate more efficiently and effectively, decrease service errors, and provide a higher degree of personalization within service encounters (Berry, 1995). Although relationship marketing may be used to help product repositioning, and to launch new products, its primary focus is to increase sales in the long term. This is markedly different from traditional mass marketing where the emphasis is on increasing short term sales (Anderson, Fornell, & Lehmann, 1994). Organizations adopt a relationship marketing orientation with the assumption that they will enjoy a competitive advantage and that organizational performance will be positively impacted (Sin, Tse, Yau, Lee, & Chow, 2002). Consumers within a relationship feel more trust and commitment toward the organization and are typically more satisfied and less likely to defect (Sin, Tse, Yau, Lee, & Chow, 2002).

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11 Customers consume services as a process, rather than an outcome (Gronroos, 1998). Unlike products, where the final outcome is typically what the consumer bases success or failure upon (i.e., Is what I received what I wanted?), with services, consumers typically include the process of service production within their final judgments of organizational success or failure. This means that for services, the front line employee/external customer interaction is critically important. In addition to making product or service quality evaluations, customers also make quality evaluations relating to the relationship itself. Hennig-Thurau and Klee (1997) define relationship quality as " . . . the degree of appropriateness of a relationship to fulfill the needs of the customer associated with that relationship” (p.751). The authors went further by stating that customer needs must be satisfied in order to attain high relationship quality (Hennig-Thurau & Klee, 1997). The key component for a relationship quality evaluation is the customer's overall relative quality perception relating to the service exchange because this is the key aspect of the buyer-seller relationship. Gronroos (1995) puts organizational approaches to marketing along a continuum from those organizations that focus exclusively on transaction specific strategies on one end, to those who focus on relationship marketing strategies on the other. Organizations focusing on transaction specific strategies typically employ marketing as a separate function, focus on acquiring market share, and have low need for internal marketing. On the opposite end of the continuum, those organizations who focus primarily on relationship marketing strategies fully embrace a marketing orientation within all facets of the organization, focus on customer opinion and

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12 reaction, and engage in high levels of internal marketing. Shani and Chalansi (1992) suggest that organizations move along a continuum from segmentation to niche marketing to database marketing and finally to relationship marketing. Segmentation is designed to break large markets into small, homogeneous sub markets. Each sub market is then treated essentially as a small mass market (Shani & Chalasani, 1992). Segmentation is a top down approach. Niche marketing, by contrast, is a bottom up approach where marketers identify an untapped market of customers who have similar needs that remain unfulfilled. According to Shani and and Chalasani (1992) a niche market (at least initially) is smaller than a segmented market and requires the building of long term relationships in order to create a loyal group of customers. Technological advances have allowed marketers to use innovative marketing techniques (including relationship marketing) to capitalize on small niche markets. Database marketing " . . . involves the collection of information about past, current, and potential customers to build a customer database" (Shani & Chalasani, 1992, p. 11). The information from such a database is used to customize marketing efforts. Database marketing is primarily interested in delivering information to customers in the most efficient way, whereas relationship marketing is aimed at differentiating individual customers and building long term relationships. Any successful relationship marketing program is based in large part on successful implementation of a database marketing program (although successful implementation alone does not ensure successful relationship marketing) (Berry, 1995).

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13 Need for the Study Organizational effectiveness has been studied as it relates to external customers by a variety of researchers (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1988; Taylor, 1994; Zeithaml, Berry, & Parasuraman, 1996). Although critically important to servicing external customers, little research has been done to study organizational effectiveness as it relates to internal customers (employees) (Gilbert, 2000), especially research that relates to those employees who have the most interaction with the external customer. Front line employees are typically paid the least and have the least amount of training; also the selection process seldom focuses on how these future employees will get along with customers. The customer orientation of employees has been studied to date only as it relates to salespersons. In this study, the customer orientation of front line personnel who are not salespersons in the typical sense was the focus. This research broadened the applicability of the Selling Orientation – Customer Orientation (SOCO) scale developed by Saxe and Weitz (1982). This is critically important to managers within service industries where front line employees have direct customer contact, but are paid by the hour and are not dependent upon what they sell (e.g., retail outlets, restaurants, or in this study a theme park). The interaction between an employee’s job satisfaction and communication satisfaction and their customer orientation was explored in this study. To date, no research has explored the impact job satisfaction has on customer orientation or the relationship between communication satisfaction and customer orientation. In addition to researching the link between employee satisfaction (job satisfaction and communication satisfaction) and customer orientation, this study measured relationship marketing orientation of individual front

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14 line employees and determined if relationship marketing orientation of front line employees is related to customer orientation. It is important for organizations to develop a relationship marketing orientation (Kohli & Jaworski, 1990). In order to accomplish this, employees must not only focus on the external customer, but also on other employees (the internal customer) (Mohr-Jackson, 1991). An organization’s relationship marketing orientation is typified by a generation and dissemination of market intelligence throughout the organization combined with the organization’s responsiveness to that information (Jones, Busch, & Dacin, 2003). Research has empirically linked an organization’s market orientation to business performance (MacInnis, Moorman, & Jaworski, 1991; Naver & Slater, 1990). Deshpande, Farley, and Webster (1994) found that organizations with a market orientation outperformed organizations that were more internally oriented and/or bureaucratic. Researchers have shown that a market orientation of a firm is related to profitability (Naver & Slater, 1990) and employee commitment (MacInnis, Moorman, & Jaworski, 1991). Market orientation has typically been studied at the organizational level, with an emphasis on management while customer orientation looks at individual front line employees (Jones, Busch, & Dacin, 2003). One dimension of a market orientation is a customer focus (Kohli & Jaworski, 1990; Naver & Slater, 1990). Front line employees are in large part responsible for implementing an organization’s market orientation (Trottier, Brown, Hobson, & Miller, 2002). Trottier, Brown, Hobson, and Miller (2002, p. 110) state, “Customer orientation is an individual level construct that . . . is central to a service organization’s ability to be market oriented” (p. 110). Deshpande, Farley, and

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15 Webster (1994) found that an organization’s customer orientation (as reported by the organization’s customers) was positively related to business performance. In addition, they found that the customer’s perception of an organization’s customer orientation was more important than an organization’s own perceptions. To date, researchers have only attempted to measure relationship marketing orientation at the organizational level (see Sin et al., 2005; 2002). In addition, prior work within relationship marketing has been criticized as too simple due to the use of a single component in defining this concept (Callaghan, McPhail, & Yau, 1995). Sin et al. (2005) state that although increasing attention has been paid to relationship marketing " . . . to date no systematic attempt has been made to develop a valid measure of it, or to assess its influence on business performance" (p.185). Due to this ambiguity, business leaders are lacking guidance as to what exactly is a relationship marketing orientation and what impacts this approach may have on organizational performance (Sin et al., 2005). Sin et al. (2005; 2002) developed a scale to measure relationship marketing orientation. Although important to the study of relationship marketing orientation at the organizational level, the Sin et al. (2005; 2002) relationship marketing orientation scale is inadequate for measuring the relationship marketing orientation of individual employees. Part of the purpose of this research was to explore measuring relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level. In addition, the relationship between relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level and customer orientation was examined.

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16 Theoretical Framework Social Exchange Theory Social Exchange theory is a theoretical framework used to understand behaviors of parties within a relationship. Homans (1958) is typically credited as the pioneer of Social Exchange theory. He concluded that it was the individual interactions between people that were important in explaining social behavior. He argued that behavior is based on reinforcement; that people will continue an interaction that provides rewards, and discontinue interactions that do not. Social Exchange theory is a model of relationship behavior grounded in economics. Individuals within the relationship are motivated into action by the desire to maximize rewards and minimize losses (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959). A relationship that provides more rewards than losses will provide mutual trust and attraction for the parties involved (Blau, 1994). Benefits can be both material and/or psychological (including status, approval and loyalty) (Yukl, 1994). Under Social Exchange theory, the decision to remain in a relationship is not determined by the balance between rewards and costs alone. It also depends on the availability (and attractiveness) of alternatives (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959). Power becomes a central element in Social Exchange theory. If one party to the exchange is less dependent on the other for a particular outcome, then an imbalance in the exchange exists (Molm, 1987). This imbalance may be overcome if alternative sources of outcomes are considered in the exchange. Outcomes may be tangible or psychological (Molm, 1987). Equity Theory Like Social Exchange theory, Equity theory is a theoretical framework used to understand behaviors of parties within a relationship. Equity theory was first

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17 discussed in the early 1960s (Adams, 1963; 1965). Under Equity theory, employees compare what they give to the organization to what they receive in return (Adams, 1963; Zelditch, 1981). Inputs describe what an employee gives, and outcomes describe what he or she gets back. Inputs include effort, loyalty to the company, compliance with organizational rules, regulations and policies, skill, seniority, and amount of responsibility, among others (Dyer, Schwab, & Theriault, 1976). Outcomes include pay and benefits, as well as more intangible rewards including status, recognition, and a sense of accomplishment (Huseman & Hatfield, 1990). When employees compare their inputs to the outcomes they receive, one of three situations may occur. If outcomes exceed inputs, employees may experience a state of over reward. When inputs equal outcomes, the employee is said to have received an equitable reward. Finally, when inputs exceed outcomes, a state of under reward is experienced. Through various studies, Huseman and Hatfield (1990) found that among hourly employees, 7% feel over rewarded, 10% feel equitably rewarded and 83% report feeling under rewarded. Another defining condition of Equity theory is that, if what is given does not equal what is received, a feeling of distress will result. Distress can result from the resentment that results from being under rewarded, or it can come as a result of the guilt associated with being over rewarded. Not all employees react the same to feelings of guilt associated with being over rewarded (Huseman & Hatfield, 1990). Some employees will work harder in an attempt to regain equity, while others simply adjust. Finally, equity theory postulates that employees who feel distressed based on feelings of being under rewarded will make attempts to restore equity. The primary ways that employees will attempt to restore

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18 equity is through decreasing their inputs, or increasing the outcomes received (Adams, 1963). According to Huseman and Hatfield (1990), employees may attempt to reduce inputs by doing less work, doing lower quality work, being late, absenteeism, and/or sabotaging their work (or others’). In extreme cases, if an employee cannot restore equity (in his or her own mind) he or she may quit. If quitting is not an option, the employee may distort the perception of inputs or outcomes so that the over rewarded (or under rewarded) appear to deserve what they receive (Zelditch, 1981). Watson, Storey, Wynarczyk, Keasey and Short (1996) state that employees may engage in “ . . . redefining their reference group, changing their perceptions of the skills involved in doing their job, its importance and/or its intrinsic satisfaction” (p.568). Unlike Social Exchange theory (which only considers outcomes) Equity theory considers both outcomes and inputs. Research Questions This study was guided by the following questions: 1. What is the relationship between job satisfaction and customer orientation among front line employees in a theme park setting? 2. What is the relationship between communication satisfaction and customer orientation among front line employees in a theme park setting? 3. How does gender impact customer orientation? 4. How does age impact customer orientation? 5. How does overall length of employment at the present job impact customer orientation? 6. How does length of employment within a job category at the present job impact customer orientation? 7. How does type of employment (full time v. part time) impact customer orientation? 8. How does the percentage of time spent in direct customer contact impact customer orientation? 9. Can relationship marketing orientation be operationalized for individual front line employees? 10. What is the relationship between relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level and customer orientation?

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19 Limitations and Delimitations Limitations are those things which potentially limit the internal validity of the results of a study (Pyrczak & Bruce, 1998). The design employed in this study was survey research. Responses to questions regarding beliefs, attitudes and intentions may be distorted by the very nature of survey questions (Feldman & Lynch, 1988). Feldman and Lynch (1988) termed this phenomenon self generated validity, and suggested that it can occur in one of two ways. If a respondent has no opinion regarding a belief, attitude or intention, the research question may create one, or if a respondent already holds the answer regarding a belief, attitude or intention in long term memory, the answer given may not be retrieved but rather impacted by earlier responses given in the survey. Feldman and Lynch (1988) suggest that in order to lessen the potential impact of self generated validity, researchers should engage in pretesting with the subject population (including interviews and observation) to determine preexisting attitudes and beliefs, and to determine the terms and constructs typically used. A delimitation is intentionally limiting the study within particular boundaries (Pyrczak & Bruce, 1998) that have the potential to impact the generalizability of the findings. This study was delimited to front line employees within a single medium sized theme park in the Southeast United States. “Front line employee” was defined in this study as hourly paid employees, who spend a percentage of their work time in direct customer contact, and who do not hold a supervisory position. Generalizability therefore is limited to theme parks in a similar location, with a similar number of employees, and with similar product and service offerings.

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20 Summary The purpose of this study was to explore front line employee job satisfaction, communication satisfaction, customer orientation and relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level within a theme park setting. Providing managers within theme parks a tool for identifying what employee dimensions may impact job satisfaction, communication satisfaction and customer orientation is an anticipated outcome. The interaction between job satisfaction and customer orientation, between communication satisfaction and customer orientation and between relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level and customer orientation was investigated. This research will help managers identify where (if at all) they need to improve in order to increase employee job satisfaction, communication satisfaction, customer orientation, and ultimately, external customer satisfaction.

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW For decades, the American business model focused on increasing market share as the key to maximizing profits. To this end, their concentration was on attracting new customers instead of on retaining existing customers. Organizations today are facing increasing global competition and an ever demanding customer base. It is much less expensive (and more profitable) to retain an existing customer than to attract a new one. Building customer relationships is a key to organizational success. A critical component in building consumer relationships is an organization’s frontline employees, particularly within service industries. Chapter I identified the need for this study. The focus of this chapter is to review the relevant literature on customer satisfaction, customer orientation, and relationship marketing orientation. Customer Satisfaction Measuring customer satisfaction has increasingly been used as a mechanism to gauge performance in leisure and recreation settings, and has become a central concept in many areas, including marketing (Yi, 1991). According to Wagenheim and Reurink (1991) management processes and procedures designed to satisfy the customer results in “ . . . cost reduction and an increase in innovation, motivation, and morale for the organization” (p. 263). This (and other) benefits of satisfying the customer has prompted many researchers to devote considerable time and energy to understanding the concept of satisfaction (Beardon & Teal, 1983; Oliver, 1980; Spreng, Mackenzie, & Olshavsky, 1996). In recent years, there has been an increased interest in customer satisfaction 21

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22 corresponding to the shift from transactional marketing to relationship marketing (Gronroos, 1994; Sheth & Parvatiyar, 1994). Kotler (1994) identified customer satisfaction as the key to customer retention. Schlesinger and Heskett (1991) spoke to the importance of front line employees “ . . . the more that technology becomes a standard part of delivering services, the more important personal interactions are in satisfying customers and in differentiating competitors” (p. 74). Bultena and and Klessig (1960) offered what has become a widely accepted definition of satisfaction. They defined a satisfying experience as “ . . . a function of the degree of congruency between aspirations and the perceived reality of experiences” (p.349). Hunt (1977) states “Satisfaction is not the pleasurableness of the experience, it is the evaluation rendered that the experience was at least as good as it was suppose to be” (p. 459). In relation to service experiences in particular, satisfaction has been defined as an emotional reaction to the service experience (Petrick, 1999; Spreng, Mackenzie, & Olshavsky, 1996). Research on satisfaction has focused on a broad array of issues. There have been debates about the utility and validity of single item measures (Vaske, Donnelly, Heberlein, & Shelby, 1982; Vaske, Fedler, & Graefe, 1986) and multiple item measures (Graefe & Fedler, 1986; D. Williams, 1989). Concerns about the timing of satisfaction surveys has been explored (Barsky, 1992; Cskikzentmihalyi, 1975; Stewart & Hull, 1992). Studies have focused on demographic and socio psychological determinants of satisfaction and dissatisfaction (Beardon & Teal, 1983; LaTour & Peat, 1979; Mason & Himes, 1973; Spreng, Mackenzie, & Olshavsky, 1996; Westbrook, Newman, & Taylor, 1978). Recent studies have explored the dimension of loyalty, with products (Czepial & Gilmore, 1987; O'Boyle, 1983) and with services (Selin, Howard, Udd, & Cable, 1988).

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23 Satisfaction in Leisure Settings Consumer satisfaction research within leisure has taken into account factors beyond price and quality. Attributes considered include; the way products are packaged, sold, displayed, and serviced, as well as service received (Pfaff, 1977). The leisure satisfaction concept is not unidimensional and is typically “ . . . left undefined and treated as a ‘nave’ psychological term” (Mannell, 1989, p. 282). The cognitive model of consumer satisfaction is based on the difference between an ideal set of attribute combinations held by the consumer and the actual combination of attributes received (Bultena & Klessig, 1960; Hunt, 1977; Pfaff, 1977; D. Williams, 1989). The most recognized theory concerning the cognitive model of satisfaction is the disconfirmation of expectations (Oliver, 1977). The greater the difference between the ideal combination and the actual combination of a product or service received, the greater the likelihood of dissatisfaction. Conversely, the lower the difference the greater the likelihood of satisfaction (Pfaff, 1977). The cognitive model charges the consumer with evaluating the attributes perceived. Because the consumer determines what is and what is not satisfaction, attributes are “ . . . likely to be conditioned by his state in the life cycle, his experience with products and services, and his expectations and needs” (Pfaff, 1977, p. 40). Thus, individuals are unlikely to have the same attribute index regarding expectations and satisfaction. However, individuals within similar socio economic circumstances are likely to characterize attributes generally in the same way (Pfaff, 1977). Cognitive models of satisfaction suggest that consumer satisfaction may be increased by changing the real world to better conform to the ideal brought by consumers, or changing what the consumer considers ideal (Pfaff, 1977).

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24 In addition to cognitive models of satisfaction, research has focused on affective models. In the affective model, the consumer evaluates goods and services not only on rational calculations but “ . . . on the basis of subjectively felt needs, aspirations, and experiences” (Pfaff, 1977, p. 41). Satisfaction or dissatisfaction evaluations may not be a subjective assessment of expectations and actual experience. Instead it may be based on other psychological or personality change. The consumer may be satisfied with products or circumstances that are recognized as problems (at least by some experts) but not by the individual (such as smoking cigarettes). Consumers may also be dissatisfied with situations that are completely out of the control of the product or service provider (including the weather) (Pfaff, 1977). One problem facing researchers using the appraisal satisfaction approach is the assumption that people know how satisfied they are. The subjective nature of appraisal satisfaction may be at odds with the objective nature of leisure and recreation offerings (Mannell, 1989). Satisfaction can be measured after the completion of the activity (post hoc) or during the activity (real time) (Petrick, 1999). Post hoc measures have been the most widely employed (Barsky, 1992). Some researchers have reported that results using post hoc and real time measures differ (Petrick, 1999; Stewart & Hull, 1992). Others recommend that the particular timing chosen should be determined by the situation (Oliver, 1997). According to Andreassen and Lindestad (1997), if the measure is taken directly after the transaction, it completely disregards the seller’s complaint handling procedures. The issue may be resolved, the consumer’s satisfaction restored, and this immediate post purchase measure would not capture true satisfaction or dissatisfaction levels. The second option is to wait until after the complaint handling process is complete

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25 before measurements are taken. This measure, called final satisfaction, adjusts initial satisfaction or dissatisfaction levels based on the outcome of the complaint handling process (Andreassen & Lindestad, 1997). Antecedents to Satisfaction Customer satisfaction is a key to business performance, and needs to be measured and managed. Conceptually, customer satisfaction has been measured by some recreation researchers through the use of the disconfirmation of expectations paradigm (Kristensen, Martensen, & Gronholdt, 1999). Customer measures of satisfaction represent an evaluation between products and services actually received, compared to what was expected. Expectations are a very complex phenomenon, are very difficult to measure, and have been the topic of a variety of theoretical research (Kristensen, Martensen, & Gronholdt, 1999). Some researchers have argued that expectations alone are a direct link to satisfaction (Oliver, 1980; Yi, 1991), with experiences being less important. The same experience could be classified by different consumers (or by the same consumer at different points in time) in one situation as satisfying and in another dissatisfying based entirely on the expectations held prior to participation or purchase (Oliver, 1980; Yi, 1991). Oliver, Rust & Varki (1997) argued that customers who continually reuse a product or service have expectations that remain static. They bring with them no expectations to be met or exceeded; therefore, disconfirmation could never be a factor influencing satisfaction. Prior experience becomes the basis for action (Oliver, Rust, & Varki, 1997). Johnson and Fornell (1991) also reported a positive association between past experience and satisfaction. Some research has focused on expectations and a link through perceived quality, when a direct link between expectations and satisfaction could not be shown (E.

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26 Anderson & Sullivan, 1993). Other research has argued that both expectations and perceived quality have a direct effect on satisfaction. Churchill and Supernant (1982) found that the higher the expectations, the lower the perceived disconfirmation (i.e., the smaller the positive difference between what was expected and what was actually received).They also found that perceived quality has a positive effect. That is, the higher the quality is perceived to have been received, the bigger the disconfirmation gap. This disconfirmation gap was shown to positively effect satisfaction (Churchill & Supernant, 1982). The wider the gap the more satisfied the consumer was with the product or experience. In addition to disconfirmation of expectations, Churchill and Supernant (1982) and others (Oliver & DeSarbo, 1988; Tse & Wilton, 1988) found that perceived quality alone has a direct effect on satisfaction, and that this effect was stronger than disconfirmation of expectations (Churchill & Supernant, 1982). Kristensen, Martensen, and Gronholdt, (1999) stated that the effect perceived quality has on satisfaction differs depending on the situation. Their work showed that expectations were not a factor in all cases studied, and that perceived quality was the best indicator of satisfaction (Kristensen, Martensen, & Gronholdt, 1999). Some researchers have argued that expectations have no effect on satisfaction (Cronin & Taylor, 1992; Pfaff, 1977). Others have argued that there is no direct path from expectations to satisfaction (E. Anderson & Sullivan, 1993; Beardon & Teal, 1983). Other researchers have supported a direct path from expectations to satisfaction (Oliver, 1980; Yi, 1991), as well as through an indirect path through perceived quality (E. Anderson & Sullivan, 1993). Some of the most widely recognized definitions of satisfaction refer to expectations as an important element. Bultena and Klessig (1960) use

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27 the phrase “ . . . degree of congruency between aspirations and the perceived reality of experiences” (p.349). This suggests that congruency refers to the notion of consumers arriving prior to the purchase experience with some notion of what to expect, as well as the idea that satisfaction is directly tied to whether this notion was or was not met (in the mind of the consumer). Researchers who have criticized either a direct link from expectations or through disconfirmation of expectations, have said that this very notion of the customer defining what is and what is not satisfying as the very problem (Andreassen & Lindestad, 1997). One of the arguments is that the very same situation in one instance may be satisfying and utterly dissatisfying in another, depending on the expectations brought by the consumer. If a consumer visits Disney World and now expects all theme parks to live up to the Disney standard of excellence, one level of service is expected. A perception may be held of not only what kind of company Disney is, but what kind of company other parks should be. Another argument put forth by Andreassen and Lindestad (1997) was that past experience may influence expectations, and that the expectations themselves do not define satisfaction. No direct reference has been found in the literature supporting past experience as a mediating factor influencing a person’s perception of company image. However, a logical inference regarding this association can be derived. One connotation of experience is an individual’s interpretation of a given event (Schreyer, Lime, & Williams, 1984). Experience represents the amount and type of information available for present decisions (Schreyer, et al., 1984). As stated in Schreyer, et al. (1984) “ . . . present situations are interpreted in reference to what has been experienced before” (p.35). The image held of a company would certainly be reevaluated (either positively or negatively)

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28 based on prior experience. Kristensen, et al. (1999) place perceived company image as a potential antecedent to perceived value and thus indirectly linked to satisfaction. They also cite perceived company image as a direct antecedent to loyalty (Kristensen, et al., 1999). Perceived quality can impact satisfaction through or in concert with, expectations (Churchill & Supernant, 1982), or it can impact satisfaction directly (Oliver & DeSarbo, 1988; Tse & Wilton, 1988). Some purchase decisions are made with no (or very limited) expectations. Oliver (1997) argues against disconfirmation of expectations under certain circumstances, and suggests that people who reuse a product repeatedly may arrive at the purchase or participation decision without expectations. In this situation, the argument that satisfaction was based on a direct expectation link would be false. However, these consumers would hold notions of quality (they have used the particular product or service before and have come to rely on a certain level of utility or performance). Service Encounter The service encounter (the personal interaction between the front line employee and the customer) has become central in customers’ evaluations of the organization as a whole (Bitner, Booms, & Tetreault, 1990; V. Zeithaml, Berry, & Parasuraman, 1988). In addition to making product or service quality evaluations, customers also make quality evaluations relating to the relationship itself. Hennig-Thurau and Klee (1997) define relationship quality as " . . . the degree of appropriateness of a relationship to fulfill the needs of the customer associated with that relationship" (p. 751). The authors went further to state "A . . . service that meets the customer's needs must be considered an absolutely indispensable condition of high relationship quality" (p. 751). The key component for a relationship quality evaluation is the customer's overall relative quality

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29 perception relating to the service exchange because this is the key aspect of the buyer seller relationship. Service quality evaluations have two dimensions “ . . . technical or outcome quality, (e.g., the act of taking a roller coaster ride in a theme park); functional or process quality, (e.g., the attitude of employees, behavior of other guests; and organization) gained from previous experience, word-of-mouth communication, advertising, etc.” (B Lewis & Clacher, 2001, p. 166). Hennig-Thurau and and Klee (1997) introduce relationship quality as a moderating variable between satisfaction and customer retention. Expanding further on the notion of a distinction between latent quality and manifest quality, Hennig-Thurau and Klee (1997) state "A strong relationship between quality and retention can only exist in the case of manifest quality perceptions . . . " (749). That is, as consumer involvement level increases, only then does their quality perceptions impact retention. In addition to this distinction based on level of involvement, Hennig-Thurau and Klee (1997) argue that most research into satisfaction and quality has ignored the influence of the competition. They suggest that competitive influence must be considered in order to generate a more valid predictor of customer retention. To this end, the authors propose a relative service quality measure as a better predictor than an absolute service quality measure. Colgate and Alexander (1998) found that customers who perceived the service provider as having a stronger customer retention orientation were more satisfied with and more committed to the relationship. In addition, it was suggested that the level of proness toward a relationship held by a customer impacts how effective relationship marketing efforts are. Research studying the link between satisfaction and customer retention typically falls into one of three categories. Most typically, monetary data (e.g., revenue or

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30 profit) is used as the dependent variable (E. Anderson & Fornell, 1994; Reicheld & Sasser, 1990). Other researchers use intention to return (Bitner, Booms, & Tetreault, 1990; Oliver, 1980). A criticism of this approach is that because satisfaction and intention to return are measured using the same instrument, they may be highly correlated which may lead to overestimating the strength of the relationship (Hennig-Thurau & Klee, 1997). According to Griffin (2002) “ . . . dissatisfaction is a result of misunderstanding what is important to your customers. Although you meet the customer's general needs, you don't understand or deliver what is of primary importance to the person" (p. 176). In order to deliver high service quality, organizations must manage all possible service encounters (Singh, 1990). In order to do this, all employees must act as marketers in order to enhance customer relationships (Gronroos, 1990a). Van Dolen, De Ruyter, and Lemmink (2004) found that front line employee actions impact customer encounter satisfaction and relationship satisfaction. Customer Orientation A customer oriented organizational culture is critical for a service firm’s success (Parasuraman, 1987). Customer oriented service providers behave in ways designed to foster long term customer satisfaction (Howe, Hoffman, & Hardigree, 1994). Because organizational culture cannot be easily copied by the competition, it represents a sustainable competitive advantage (Parasuraman, 1987). Deshpande, Farley, and Webster (1994) see customer orientation as a part of an overall corporate culture and argue that simply focusing on the needs of customers is inadequate without “ . . . consideration of the more deeply rooted set of values and beliefs that are likely to consistently reinforce such a customer focus . . . ” (p. 27). Williams and Attaway (1996) proposed that a salesperson’s customer oriented behavior was antecedent to the development of a buyer

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31 seller relationship. Increased focus on customer satisfaction is one key to building long term relationships. Customer oriented employee behavior leads to long term satisfaction with an emphasis of long term rather than short term results (Dunlap, Dotson, & Chambers, 1988; Saxe & Weitz, 1982). Brown, Mowen, Donavan, and Licata (2002) define customer orientation as “ . . . an employee’s tendency or predisposition to meet customer needs in an on-the-job context” (p. 111). This definition is composed of a needs dimension (an employee’s belief in the ability to satisfy customer needs) and an enjoyment dimension (degree to which serving customers is enjoyable), “...both components are necessary to fully understand a service worker’s ability and motivation to serve customers by meeting their needs” (Trottier, Brown, Hobson, & Miller, 2002, p. 111). Saxe and Weitz (1982) define customer oriented selling as “ . . . the degree to which salespeople practice the marketing concept by trying to help their customers make purchase decisions that will satisfy customer needs” (p. 344). Deshpande, Farley and Webster (1994) define customer orientation as “ . . . the set of beliefs that puts the customer’s interest first, while not excluding those of all other stakeholders such as owners, managers, and employees, in order to develop a long term profitable enterprise” (p. 27). In a longitudinal study involving organizational alliances (both competitive alliances and those within the marketing channel), Rindfleisch & Moorman (2003) define customer orientation as “ . . . the set of behaviors and beliefs that places a priority on customers’ interests and continuously creates superior customer value” (p. 422). Front line employees are typically responsible for implementing an organization’s marketing concept (Trottier, Brown, Hobson, & Miller, 2002).

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32 Although some researchers have used the terms market orientation and customer orientation synonymously (see Ghani & Deshpande, 1994), the majority of researchers recognize them as distinct constructs. Conduit and Movondo (2001) found that internal customer orientation and market orientation are distinct constructs, with internal customer orientation positively related to market orientation. “From a managerial perspective, an organization should strive to develop, maintain, and enhance both an internal customer and a market orientation concurrently” (Conduit & Mavondo, 2001, p. 19). In the literature, researchers using the terms market orientation and relationship marketing orientation are (typically) describing the same construct “ . . . the relationship marketing paradigm focuses on longer term customer satisfaction and value added selling through the implementation of customer oriented strategies” (M. Williams & Attaway, 1996, p. 34). For this study, the terms market orientation, and relationship marketing orientation were used synonymously while customer orientation is recognized as a distinct construct. Saxe and Weitz (1982) were the first to directly measure customer orientation at the individual employee level. They developed a scale with 24 items (12 positively phrased customer orientation items and 12 negatively phrased selling orientation items) they termed the Selling Orientation-Customer Orientation (SOCO) scale. Saxe and Weitz (1982) showed that customer orientation was related to sales performance. Michaels and Day (1985) used the SOCO scale developed by Saxe and Weitz (1982) to measure external customer perceptions of front line employee customer orientation. With a slight modification in wording to reflect the fact that customers were making judgments about salespeople, Michaels and Day (1985) found that the SOCO scale was both reliable and

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33 valid when external customers made evaluations of the customer orientation of salespeople. Jones, Busch and Dacin (2003) found that front line employees’ customer orientation was positively associated with external customers’ propensity to leave. That is, external customers interacting with employees holding a higher customer orientation indicated a lower propensity to switch suppliers. Conduit and Mavondo (2001) studied the relationship between internal customer orientation and a market orientation. They found that internal communication and personnel management were positively related to internal customer orientation. They also found that management support and personnel management were positively related to market orientation. A limitation of the study conducted by Conduit and Mavondo (2001) was their focus on organizations with extensive international marketing. This study extended the work of Conduit and Mavondo (2001) by focusing on a single organization with a regional reach. Deshpande, Farley, & Webster (1994) examined the interaction between customer orientation, organizational culture and innovativeness as they relate to business performance. Jones et al. (2003) examined the impact an organization’s market orientation and front line employee’s customer orientation on the buyer-seller relationship. In a study of 746 salespeople from 4 large organizations, Widmier (2002) found that customer satisfaction based salesperson incentives had a positive effect on salesperson customer orientation, and that sales volume incentives had a negative effect on salesperson customer orientation. In addition, Widmier (2002) found that salespersons with higher levels of empathic concern had correspondingly high levels of customer orientation. However, gender and selling experience were not significantly related to a salesperson’s level of customer orientation. Howe, Hoffman, and Hardigree (1994), in a

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34 study set within the insurance industry, found that customer oriented employees are more ethical versus employees who have a selling orientation. Organizational competitive operating environment has been studied as a moderating variable in the market orientation performance relationship (Slater & Narver, 1994). Some researchers have found a strong influence of operating environment (Narver, Park and Slater 1992, Narver and Slater 1990) while others have only found partial support for operating environment as a moderating variable (Greenley 1995). The length of time an employee has worked for an organization (job tenure) has been studied as it relates to employee job motivation, job skills and role perceptions (Ingram and Bellenger 1983; Walker, Churchill, and Ford 1975). Michaels and Day (1985) studied job tenure and its impact on salespersons’ customer orientation. They reported a negative association between an industrial salespersons’ length of employment and amount of customer orientation. The researchers attribute this result (in part) to environmental changes that occurred in the oil industry (layoffs, salary reductions) that could have negatively affected salesperson relationships with external customers and the organization. In a study involving a national consumer goods manufacturer sales force and their retail trade customers, Jones et al. (2003) found that front line employees’ perceptions of the organization’s market orientation positively impacts job satisfaction and organizational commitment. However, neither employee’s perception of the organization’s market orientation or their sales manager’s market orientation impacts front line employee customer orientation. “if salespeople perceive their firm to be highly market oriented, then they infer that the firm supports their efforts to meet customer needs” (Jones et al., 2003, p. 35). However, Jones, et al. (2003) did show

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35 that sales manager’s level of organizational commitment positively impacted front line employees’ customer orientation. Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction encompasses all aspects of employment that have an influence on the employee including whether the employee is happy to go to work, perceives the job as meaningful, what perceptions the employee holds of the organization, and any other impact either physical or psychological (Eskildsen & Nussler, 2000). Locke (1976) defined job satisfaction as “ . . . a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences” (p.1300). Brooke, Russell, and Price (1988) defined job satisfaction as the extent to which a person likes his or her job. Variables that can impact job satisfaction include experience, education and age (Hackman & Oldham, 1980). Job satisfaction has been studied in a variety of relationships, including organizational climate (Payne, Fineman, & Wall, 1976), job roles (Schuler, 1979), supervision (Downey, Sheridan, & Slocum, 1975), and communication satisfaction (Pincus, 1986). Although studies vary methodologically, findings generally show that the more trust, participation, and openness the subordinate feels between themselves and a superior, the more satisfied the subordinate is likely to be with his or her job (and organization). Employee satisfaction is an important driver of excellence (Eskildsen & Dahlgaard, 2000) and satisfied customers (Dahlgaard, Kristensen, & Kanji, 1998; Deming, 1986). Researchers have suggested that the higher the internal (employee) satisfaction, the greater the likelihood of external (customer) satisfaction and loyalty (Reicheld & Sasser, 1990). Townsend (2004) states “One key role of management is ensuring there is a level of job satisfaction that transfers into employees engaging in positive actions towards the performance of the organization” (p. 48). Researchers have

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36 identified four key factors that impact job satisfaction. First, rewards and recognition have been shown to contribute to job satisfaction. Some researchers have identified extrinsic rewards, including salary and benefits as the most important factors for retaining employees. While others contend that intrinsic rewards such as working conditions, status, and security drive employee satisfaction (Leavitt, 1996; Savery, 1996). Personal choice and development have been identified as a second factor that impacts employee satisfaction. Employees are not driven by pay and benefits alone, some value career development as important to satisfaction (Leavitt, 1996). A third dimension shown to impact employee satisfaction is a work and life balance. The association between job satisfaction and life satisfaction has been widely studied. Some researchers have argued that the interaction between employee satisfaction and life satisfaction is directional (either employee satisfaction impacting life satisfaction, or life satisfaction impacting employee satisfaction) (Bauer, 2000), while other researchers argue that it is reciprocal (Hagedorn & Sax, 1999). A final dimension shown to impact employee satisfaction is training and development. Howard and Frink (1996) showed that employees who perceive growth opportunities are more satisfied. Job satisfaction, job involvement (the degree to which a person is absorbed, or preoccupied with his or her job), and organizational commitment (the degree of loyalty or attachment felt by employees toward the organization) have been shown to be distinctly different constructs (Brooke, Russell, & Price, 1988). A primary goal of increasing employee satisfaction is increasing employee commitment to the organization. Crow and Hartman (1995) argue that organizations would be better off concentrating on reducing employee dissatisfaction rather than increasing employee

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37 satisfaction. Crow and Hartman (1995) argue that satisfying employees does not provide the same lasting positive feelings like the negative feelings generated by employee dissatisfaction. Employees may be motivated to be more productive for a short while after feelings of job satisfaction, but they typically are not long lasting. Job dissatisfaction may result in lower productivity, decreased managerial controls, and lower levels of customer service (Pennington, 2003), increased absenteeism, and higher intention to quit (Bowen, 1982; Sheridan, 1985). Crow and Hartman (1995) cite a lack of research empirically linking elevated employee satisfaction levels to increased productivity. A better approach, they argue, is to concentrate organizational efforts in areas that can be controlled, including reducing employee dissatisfaction that can detract from performance. Crow and Hartman (1995) identify poor supervision as one source of employee dissatisfaction. Because front line employees and supervisors often work in close conjunction, it is very difficult for employees to ignore a supervisor who is incompetent, or who lacks skills to effectively interact with subordinates. Faced with dissatisfying situations, employees simply cannot be as effective as they could be. Herzberg, Mausner, and Snyderman (1959) identified base line expectations of employees to include; pay, supervision, working conditions, and structure. When these base line expectations are not satisfactorily met, employees become dissatisfied and less productive. Job satisfaction, organizational commitment and turnover differs among employees depending upon how long they have been employed with the organization (Sheridan, 1985). Service behaviors are those that occur during interactions with customers (Farrell, Souchon, & Durden, 2001) and are the primary influence on customers’ perceptions of

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38 service quality (Bitner, Booms, & Tetreault, 1990; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1988). Employees’ service behaviors are influenced by their level of job satisfaction (Bettencourt, 1997; Bettencourt & Brown, 1997). What exactly defines employee service behavior, however, is still debated (Bitner, Booms, & Mohr, 1994; Farrell, Souchon, & Durden, 2001). Employee performance improves with experience, and both have been shown to moderate the effect of satisfaction on organizational commitment (Russ & McNeilly, 1995). Although technically different, the terms job performance (supervisor evaluation, goal accomplishment) and productivity (sales, profit, turnover) have typically been used interchangeably (Downs & Hain, 1981). Some researchers have challenged the link between the emotional state driving job satisfaction and performance (Organ, 1977), while others have shown productivity and job satisfaction to be correlated (Petty, McGee, & Cavender, 1984). Petty et al. (1984) found that individual job satisfaction and job performance are positively correlated. Research has also shown a link between job satisfaction and specific performance outcomes, including; organizational citizenship behaviors (P. Smith, Organ, & Near, 1983) and employee turnover (Price & Mueller, 1986; Rusbult & Farrell, 1983). Employee turnover does have a negative impact on organizational effectiveness (Koys, 2001). Although studies have only shown a relatively weak association between individual employee job satisfaction and organizational effectiveness, Koys (2001) showed that a unit level measure of employee satisfaction did have a significant impact on organizational effectiveness. Ryan, Schmit, and Johnson (1996) explained this apparent inconsistency by arguing that organizational performance is not simply the sum of individual performances. Things other than those that impact individual employee satisfaction, including shared values, may impact unit level

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39 employee satisfaction. If a norm of collaboration and cooperation is present, unit productivity will be enhanced. Employee satisfaction is impacted by employees’ perceptions of their job and the organization for which they work (Eskildsen & Nussler, 2000). Agho, Mueller, and Price (1993) found that employees show less job satisfaction when alternative jobs (for which they are qualified) are available, when they do not receive adequate information to perform their job, and when superiors make incompatible requests. In a study set in the real estate industry investigating the antecedents and consequences of employee goal orientation, Harris, Mowen, and Brown (2005) used a single item measure of job satisfaction and found that employees holding a customer orientation (vs. a performance orientation) have higher levels of job satisfaction, and that a selling orientation does not directly impact job satisfaction. Bettencourt and Brown (1997) found that workplace fairness perceptions were antecedent to employees delivering quality service. Specifically, the key predictors for quality service delivery were the perception of fairness in pay rules and administration, and the perception of fairness in supervision. They also found that job satisfaction was a much less significant predictor of employees delivering quality service when the effects of fairness were removed. Bettencourt and Brown (1997), however, found no link between employee job satisfaction and prosocial service behavior of employees. They did find that perceptions of fairness impacted employee prosocial behaviors. Agho et al. (1993) found that the ability to make job related decisions, working with friendly people, fair reward, and opportunity for mobility within the organization were related to job satisfaction. Personality dimensions brought to the organization by the employee (as opposed to created by the characteristics of the

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40 organization) impact job satisfaction (Agho, et al., 1993). Employee outlook (either negative or positive) impacts job satisfaction appraisals. In a study of job satisfaction and organizational restructuring, Howard and Frink (1996) found that job satisfaction is related to continued growth opportunities. Employees must know and understand the opportunities available to them. In addition, it was shown that an employee’s satisfaction with coworkers influenced internal work motivation, and satisfaction with supervisors impacted general job satisfaction. Employee satisfaction has been linked to customer satisfaction. Communication Satisfaction Theme parks use their environment to communicate to visitors (and employees). Service failure may “ . . . occur due to a lack of, or inaccurate, communications and result in both unhappy customers and frustrated employees” (B Lewis & Clacher, 2001, p. 173). Communication is both formal and informal exchanges of “ . . . meaningful and timely . . . ” information between parties within the relationship (Sin et al., 2005). When employee communication satisfaction is low (poor organizational communication), outcomes include; lower employee commitment, increased absenteeism, higher employee turnover, and reduced productivity (Hargie, Tourish, & Wilson, 2002). For individual employees, poor organizational communication can result in burnout, increased stress, and increased uncertainty about the self, others, relationships, or situations (Ray, 1993). Early research into communication satisfaction defined it as a unidimensional construct. Thayer’s (1968) definition of communication satisfaction was satisfaction in successfully communicating to, or receiving communication from, another. Downs and and Hazen (1977) are among the earliest researchers to define communication satisfaction as a multi-dimensional construct. Downs and Hazen (1977) identified eight

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41 dimensions of communication satisfaction. 1. Satisfaction with communication climate. This dimension is both organizational (extent to which communication motivates employees to reach organizational goals) and personal (superiors know and understand employee problems). Because the global measure of satisfaction loaded on this factor, the authors speculated that workers think of organizational climate when making a general satisfaction evaluation. 2. Satisfaction with superiors (listens and pays attention, offers guidance for problem solving). 3. Satisfaction with organizational integration (satisfaction with information received regarding the organization and immediate work environment). 4. Satisfaction with media quality. This dimension relates to how well organizational media functions (satisfaction with meeting organization, helpfulness of organizational publications, and the amount of organizational communication). 5. Satisfaction with horizontal information communication. This dimension primarily represents informal communication (satisfaction with the accuracy and free flowing nature of informal communications). 6. Satisfaction with general organizational perspective. This dimension relates to the satisfaction of communication impacting the organization (government action, organizational changes, financial standing, and policies and goals). 7. Satisfaction with communication with co-workers. Because the emphasis of this study was front line personnel, an eighth dimension identified by Downs and Hazen (1977), subordinate communication, was not considered in this study because it is relevant only to respondents in a supervisory position. They identified personal feedback, relation with supervisor, and communication climate as the most important dimensions of communication satisfaction that interact with job satisfaction. In addition, Downs and Hazen (1977) stated “ . . . communication satisfaction can provide a barometer of

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42 organizational functioning . . . ” (p. 72). Gray and Laidlaw (2004) suggested that communication satisfaction be looked at as a hierarchy. This confirmed previous research that identified two main dimensions contributing to organizational communication: an informal dimension (satisfaction with content and flow) and a relational dimension (satisfaction with communication relationships) (Pincus, 1986; Putti, Aryee, & Phua, 1990). Gray & Laidlaw (2004) identified informational communication as being composed of; communication climate, organizational perspective, and organizational integration. Relational communication was defined by; media quality, horizontal communication, personal feedback, and supervisory communication. Gathering customer feedback should be an on going endeavor. Many organizations use complaints as their chief source of customer feedback (Evans & Laskin, 1994). This form of customer monitoring is inadequate. Many more customers than who actually complain typically have the same feelings. This group is missed entirely if an organization only monitors actual complaints. Evans and Laskin (1994) recommend the key information source as an alternative to monitoring complaints alone. Key information may include surveys, customer call management, and front line employee feedback. A first step in implementing an effective organizational communication strategy is to determine the current communication state (Hargie, Tourish, & Wilson, 2002). Organizations must develop communication goals for the future, and involve employees in successful implementation (Clampitt, De Koch, & Cashman, 2000). Communication satisfaction is impacted by communication that provides information and work tasks, and by communication interactions with coworkers and superiors (C. Anderson & Martin, 1995). Wilson (1994) states “ . . . companies need to articulate the values inherent at the

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43 heart of the organization and to ensure the mechanisms are in place to translate these values into action” (p. 51). In a survey of a United Kingdom consultant business, Barnes, Fox and Morris (2004) found that management tended to withhold information from employees because the organization in the past had rewarded and promoted staff based on specialized knowledge. In addition, they found that horizontal communication within and between departments was weak. Finally, there appeared to have been an us vs. them feeling between employees and management. Employees had stopped making recommendations to superiors regarding improved service because they felt that they were not being rewarded for their efforts, and they typically never saw recommendations put into action. Communication satisfaction has been shown to positively correlate with job satisfaction (Pettit, Goris, & Vaught, 1997). Pincus (1986) found that although organizational communication satisfaction was positively correlated with both job satisfaction and job performance, the organizational communication-job performance link was much stronger. In addition, communication satisfaction with an immediate supervisor was both “ . . . separately and substantially . . .” related to job satisfaction and job performance (p. 413). Anderson and Martin (1995) found that employees who communicate with superiors for pleasure report higher levels of satisfaction with those superiors. They caution that this finding does not mean that subordinates and superiors need to be good friends, but that it is important that communication other than that which is informative or task focused (duty) or totally irrelevant (chit chat) be engaged in. Researchers have shown low communication satisfaction among employees related to lower employee commitment, increased absenteeism, higher turnover, and lower productivity (Hargie, Tourish, & Wilson, 2002).

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44 Relationship Marketing Berry (1983) outlined five elements for the successful practice of relationship marketing. 1. Develop a core service around which relationship marketing is based. 2. Customize relationships for individual customers. 3. Augment the core service with extra benefits. 4. Price services to encourage loyalty, and 5. Market to employees so they will embrace the relationship marketing philosophy. Compton, George, Gronroos, and Karvinen (1987) identified four objectives of internal marketing. 1. To impart on employees the importance of quality customer interaction, and their role in delivering the organization’s marketing philosophy. 2. To have employees understand and accept the external marketing program of the organization. 3. To provide employee motivation and continuous information needed to successfully implement the organization’s marketing philosophy, and 4. To hire and keep quality employees. In order for organizations to successfully implement a relationship marketing program, they must cultivate a supportive corporate culture, practice internal marketing, understand customer expectations, maintain a customer database, and change employee reward structures (Buttle, 2000). Customer satisfaction does not exist in a vacuum. Before firms can acquire satisfied and loyal customers, they must first gain employee satisfaction and loyalty. Management of these internal relationships is at the center of internal marketing (Gronroos, 1990b; Jeschke, Schulze, & Bauersachs, 2000). Every employee within an organization is an internal customer of someone else (Gummesson, 1987) and an organization’s relationship with its employees has a direct effect on customers. However, this relationship has received little attention. Despite advances in technology, customers are very dependent on interactions with an organization’s employees (Liljander, 2000). Customer relationships with employees are particularly

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45 relevant in services marketing. Liljander (2000) stated “A company will not be successful on the external market if it has not first taken good care of its internal market – its employees” (p. 161). Relationship marketing as a concept gained widespread popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Sheth (2002) identified several factors for this, including; increased competition within a global market, services marketing gaining a recognition as unique from product marketing and, the further consolidation within business-to-business markets with the emphasis on a limited number of suppliers in an attempt to increase quality. All marketing actions must be directed toward the relationship marketing process (Gronroos, 2004). The primary focus of the relationship marketing process must be the interaction between the service provider and the primary consumers of their services (Gronroos, 2004). This is not to say that other stakeholders are to be ignored. They are critically important, and must be considered within the network of relationships (Gummesson, 1999). Services that are conducive to relationship marketing are those that are continuously (or periodically) delivered, personally important to the consumer, variable in quality, and / or complex (Berry, 1995). In an attempt to maximize retention rates and customer share, organizations use relationship marketing strategies including advertising, customer care and loyalty programs, and direct mailings. These strategies are managed through direct and / or database marketing methods (O'Malley & Prothero, 2004). Many researchers have argued that relationship marketing represents a paradigm shift within marketing theory. However, in order to be considered a new paradigm, two conditions must be met. The concept must cover all situations in the field and new methods or tools for theoretical analysis must be provided. Relationship marketing does

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46 not cover all situations (in many cases transactional marketing approaches are preferred) and relationship marketing does not provide new methods for analysis (it draws upon existing ideas including satisfaction and trust). Relationship marketing requires that partners within the relationship work toward common goals. Gronroos (1996) identified three strategic characteristics of relationship marketing. 1. Organizations must become service organizations and define the competitive dimension as service competition. 2. The organization must be looked at from a process perspective. 3. Organizations must establish partnerships and a network to encompass the entire service process. In addition to strategic characteristics, Gronroos (1996) identified three tactical considerations. 1. Organizations must engage in direct customer contact. 2. They must establish customer databases for tracking and monitoring, and 3. The service system must be customer centered. Organizations must encourage employees to satisfy customer needs, including going above and beyond company policy and norms when necessary (Evans & Laskin, 1994). Successful relationship marketing requires that organizations implement relationship marketing procedures into all strategic planning, and to have continuous communication with customers to ensure that desires are being met (Evans & Laskin, 1994). Typically, early encounters with an organization are more critical to the building of satisfaction, trust, and relationships. Especially when a consumer has had no prior contact with an organization, how that consumer is engaged during that first encounter is important. The irony is that for many organizations, the important role played by front line personnel (who are responsible for engaging in this critical first time encounter) is not recognized (Bitner, 1995). It is very difficult (if not

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47 impossible) to recognize in the moment which encounter is critically important and which is less so. Definitions Because the knowledge that has been gained by marketing researchers is very contextual, there is not a single general theory of relationship marketing. Bejou (1997) stated " . . . after a decade of research, relationship marketing is still in its infancy, there is little agreement as to what relationship marketing is, how it is defined, how it is formed, and to what extent it is useful" (p. 730). However, research findings can be used to develop a better understanding of what relationship marketing is both in theory, and in practice (Hennig-Thurau & Hansen, 2000a). A single encounter between the organization and external customer has elements upon which a relationship can be built (Gronroos, 2000). Czepial and Gilmore (1987) state "...encounters provide the social occasion in which buyer and seller can negotiate and nurture the transformation of their accumulated encounters into an exchange relationship” (p. 13). Relationship marketing is " . . . characterized by reciprocal, interdependent, committed, and long term relationships between sellers and buyers . . . " (Sin, Tse, Yau, Lee, & Chow, 2002, p. 185). Shani and Chalasani (1992) define relationship marketing as " . . . an integrated effort to identify, maintain, and build up a network with individual consumers and to continuously strengthen the network for the mutual benefit of both sides, through interactive, individualized, and value added contacts over a long period of time" (p. 34). This definition encompasses the long term orientation proposed by Doyle and Thomas (1992), the need to work toward common goals suggested by Buttle (1996), and the recommendation that all marketing activity should be directed toward establishing, developing and maintaining relationships as proposed by Morgan and Hunt (1994). In a

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48 study involving German consumers of retail beauty products, Colgate and Alexander (1998) defined relationship marketing as " . . . one or more exchanges between a consumer and a retailer that are perceived by the consumer as being interrelated to potential past and future exchanges with the retailer" (p. 178). The authors go further by saying that a single encounter can be defined as a relationship " . . . marking the beginning of a continuum of relationships" (p. 178). Morgan and Hunt (1994) developed a broader definition of relationship marketing to include those relational exchanges that do not involve customers but strategic alliances (including business-to-business and government-to-business). They define relationship marketing as " . . . all marketing activities directed toward establishing, developing, and maintaining successful relational exchanges" (p. 22). Unless a customer feels that a relationship exists, it does not (J. Barnes, 1997). This notion is supported by Gwinner, Gremler, and Bitner (1998) who state that the strength of relationship outcomes is dependent not only on the strategies implemented by the organization, but on preferences held by the consumer. Relationship marketing has been studied in a variety of contexts, including services (Hennig-Thurau & Hansen, 2000b) within marketing channels (Ganesan, 1994), and within business-to-business relationships (Dwyer, Schurr, & Oh, 1987). However, few studies have considered the context of the relationship and how it might impact the building of relationships. Pressey and Mathews (2000) identified four factors that vary in importance depending on context, that help foster an environment ripe for successful relationship building. Personal service is a high level of personal contact between the organization and the customer. Balance of power refers to a more equal partnership between service provider and customer (one or the other within the relationship does not

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49 hold a disproportionate amount of power within the relationship. That is, both service provider and customer benefit equally from a continued relationship). Professionalism is the ability of the service organization to provide expert advice and/or to successfully handle complaints " . . . within the service episode . . . " (p. 275). Finally, degree of involvement says that customers with higher levels of both behavioral and attitudinal involvement are more likely to develop into long term relationships. The key is that even if the conditions for successful relationships identified by Berry (1983) are present (including; on going desire for the service, the customer in control of the selection of the service supplier and there are alternative services available), if and how strong the relationship is formed depends also on how well the service organization meets the additional dimensions of personal service, balance of power, professionalism and involvement (Pressey & Mathews, 2000). The concept of a relationship may not be universal. It may be different across different segments of the same market (J. Barnes, 1997). Although research has considered a variety of constructs in an attempt to explain relationship marketing, the majority have focused on a limited number of dimensions, including; satisfaction, service quality, commitment, and trust (Hennig-Thurau & Gwinner, 2002). Colgate and Alexander (1998) identify trust, relationship satisfaction, relationship commitment, and buying behavior as relationship outcomes. Sin et al. (2002) identified relationship marketing as a multi dimensional construct composed of: trust, bonding, communication, shared value, empathy, and reciprocity. They found that relationship marketing orientation was associated with business performance (measured as market share, sales growth and return on investment). Morgan and Hunt (1994) found that relationship

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50 termination costs, relationship benefits, shared values, communication and opportunistic behavior were all indirect antecedents to relational outcomes. Trust and commitment were shown to be mediating variables between these antecedents and relational outcomes. Hennig-Thurau and Gwinner (2002) used the satisfaction and commitment dimensions as moderating variables between relationship benefits and relationship outcomes. Internal Marketing A service encounter has traditionally been defined as the interaction between front line employees and external customers (Gremler & Bitner, 1994). Lewis and Entwistle (1990) argued that service encounters also occur within organizations, saying that if internal customers are not satisfied, it may impact external customers’ satisfaction. Gremler and Bitner (1994) defined this as “ . . . the dyadic interaction between an internal customer and an internal service provider” (p. 35) and termed these interactions internal service encounters. Front line employees can be a source of competitive advantage (Pfeffer, 1994). The higher the level of internal customer satisfaction, the greater chance for external customer satisfaction (B. Barnes & Morris, 2000). This can occur when front line employees deliver on the promises made by the organization, uphold a positive organizational image, by acting as a marketer for the organization, and by providing superior service quality. Bitner (1995) stated “ . . . in the context of employee relationship development, internal marketing emphasizes the importance of communicating externally made promises to personnel and training them in the skills which enable them to fulfill these promises” (p. 162). The goal of internal marketing is to increase customer orientation (and ultimately) the level of service delivered by employees (Gronroos, 1990b; Jeschke, Schulze, & Bauersachs, 2000). Traditional marketing and sales departments within organizations cannot deliver the right marketing mix to every

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51 customer in every situation. Every employee within the organization must be considered a part time marketer, and staff training and recruitment must take this into consideration (Gummesson, 1991). Stakeholder relationships are not independent of one another. The definition of relationship marketing put forth by Gummesson (1994) supports this position “ . . . relationship marketing is marketing seen as relationships, networks and interaction” (p. 32). Other researchers have defined internal marketing to include all activities that foster a high quality relationship between employees and the organization. Barnes and and Morris (2000) defined internal marketing as marketing that satisfies the needs of employees. Palmer (2001) defines internal marketing as “The application of the principles and practices of marketing to an organization’s dealings with its employees” (p. 490). Internal marketing within services includes an organization’s “ . . . strategies for attracting, keeping and motivating customer oriented personnel” (Gronroos, 1990b, p. 162). Zeithaml and Bitner (2000) see internal marketing as a way for the organization to deliver on promises made during external marketing. Ballantyne, Christopher, and Payne (1995) define internal marketing as “ . . . any form of marketing within an organization which focuses staff attention on the internal activities that need to be changed in order to enhance external marketplace performance” (p. 15). Finally, Berry and Parasuraman (1992) define internal marketing as “ . . . attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining qualified employees through job products that satisfy their needs” (p. 25). Internal marketing is different from internal customer service. Internal customer service refers to how employees serve other employees, and internal marketing refers to how the organization serves the employee (Berry, 1981; George, 1990). Berry and Parasuraman (1992) argue that organizations competing for the best employees should, “

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52 . . . use multiple recruiting methods, cast a wide net, and segment the market” (p. 26). They continue by stating that organizations should not give into the temptation to lower hiring standards in a tight market. Firms should “ . . . ignore this temptation and instead work harder than competitors to find the right people” (p. 26). Employees’ decisions to continue working for an organization are impacted by their perception of the quality of the relationship they have with the organization. By satisfying the needs of internal customers, organizations should be in a better position to satisfy external customers through increased service quality (B. Barnes & Morris, 2000). Quality employees often leave an organization when asked to reach high customer loyalty standards, without being given the proper tools and capabilities for success. Employees must be serviced by the organization in order for the employees to successfully service the customer. Eskildsen and Nussler (2000) state “ . . . employees have evolved from a resource to be exploited to an asset that needs to be nourished, guarded and developed” (p. 581). Quality control is an important aspect of a manger’s job. Formal and informal training and development is one way to improve the quality of staff performance. In order to prepare employees for successful delivery of customer service, organizations must approach employee training as a way to not only build technical skill, but also knowledge. As noted by Ballantyne et al. (1995) “Training is vital but education is better” (p. 14). Training and development must be a continuous process (Berry & Parasuraman, 1992). Internal marketing requires that the role of the marketer must change. It is no longer sufficient (in most cases) to inform the customer of an organization’s offerings through the traditional 4Ps of marketing (B. Barnes, Fox, & Morris, 2004). An organization’s responsibility must now include “ . . . informing the company’s personnel

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53 of the needs and expectations of customers so that the company may become more proactive in its design process and delivery activities” (B. Barnes, Fox, & Morris, 2004, p. 594). The end consumer must be satisfied with both the core product and any added benefits before a repurchase will be made (T. Jones & Sasser, 1995; Oliver, Rust, & Varki, 1997). Typically, the provision of the core product and any added benefits depends on an interaction with the organization’s employees (Gwinner, Gremler, & Bitner, 1998). Berry and Parasuraman (1991) identify seven steps organizations must take in order to successfully implement internal marketing. 1. Organizations must compete for talent. 2. In order to attract the best, organizations must have a clear vision for success, and they must communicate this vision to current and prospective employees. 3. Organizations must prepare employees to perform and market quality service. 4. Teamwork must be a central philosophy, as servicing the external customer requires input from a variety of organizational units. 5. Employees must be empowered. 6. Employee performance must be measured and organizations must focus on behavioral measures of successes in addition to performance measures. 7. Finally, in order to successfully market internally, organizations must understand their internal customers’ (employees’) wants and needs. The authors go further to equate jobs with products. A job must satisfy employee needs just like any other product must satisfy customer needs. “Not only are jobs products, they are among the most important products that people will ever buy” (Berry & Parasuraman, 1991, p. 25). Organizations that make service quality a priority, and reinforce their message through staff training and orientation are more likely to have that message embraced by staff (Schneider & Bowen, 1995). Implementing an internal marketing program requires

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54 that organizations provide employees with proper training, provide employee feedback, and monitor results. These actions will only be successful when the organization has an adequate communication process in place (Compton, George, Gronroos, & Karvinen, 1987). Straughan and Cooper (2002) added “ . . . employees are apt to treat customers the same way that they themselves are treated by the organization” (p. 254). Internal marketing goals will not be realized if employee performance is not measured and (when appropriate) rewarded. One problem is that organizations tend to focus on output measures (including sales) and ignore behavioral measures (including delivering high quality customer service); (Berry & Parasuraman, 1992). Berry and Parasuraman (1992) suggest developing employee profiles for individual positions, and interviewing multiple candidates for each position. In addition, it is recommended that in order to attract and maintain the best employees, organizations with an internal marketing focus should pay higher wages. Gremler and Bitner (1994) found that the events and behaviors that make internal customers satisfied are many of the same that impact external customers. The result of their study was consistent with Schneider and Bowen (1985) who found that the problems impacting internal (employee) dissatisfaction were the same problems impacting external (customer) dissatisfaction. Gremler and and Bitner (1994) suggest that the same measures used for external satisfaction can be used to measure internal satisfaction. In a study involving organizational teams, Gilbert (2000) found that team managers overestimated the level of internal service quality being received by individual team members (the internal customer). This is a potential problem as managers may think that their team members are receiving everything they need for optimal productivity

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55 when they may not be. A consequence of this may be that teams are performing at a sub optimal level and, therefore, not delivering the level of service quality to external customers they may be capable of (G. Gilbert, 2000). Schneider and Bowen (1985) found that when employees described the organizational culture as being service oriented, customers had favorable views of the service quality they received. In order to provide quality customer service, organizations must empower their employees (Tschohl, 1998). Empowering employees provides many benefits. Through empowerment, employees can generate long term relationships, customers may get the feeling that an organization that empowers employees is more dedicated to customer satisfaction, and that the organization enjoys a reduction in bureaucracy, F. Smith (1990) stated “ . . . unempowered employees deliver regimented ‘by-the-book’ service when a creatively tailored ‘by-the-customer’ service is really needed” (p. 30). Tschohl (1998) defines empowerment as “ . . . any employee who can do whatever he or she has to do on the spot to take care of the customer to the customer’s satisfaction – not the company’s satisfaction. If the customer does not win, the company loses” (p. 421). Managers typically don’t understand what exactly empowerment is. They believe that empowerment is giving employees the authority to do whatever is necessary to satisfy the customer “ . . . as long as the action they take follows the rules, policies, and procedures of the organization . . . ” (Tschohl, 1998, p. 421), which isn’t empowering the employee at all. Quality service can only be delivered by empowered employees. For empowerment to work, four conditions must be met by the organization. 1. Empowerment as an idea must be part of the organization’s overall mission. 2. Employees must have both the skills, and 3. the authority to make decisions, and 4.

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56 Employees must be assured that mistakes can be made without organizational retribution (Evans & Laskin, 1994). Relationship Marketing Dimensions Essential marketing activities can be linked to the dimensions of successful promise keeping (Bitner, 1995; Kotler, 1994). External marketing is associated with making a promise to the consumer. Through external marketing, promises are made not only through traditional marketing activities (including advertising, promotion and the price charged) but promises are also made within other dimensions of the organization (physical surrounding, employee dress, etc.) (Bitner, 1995). Internal marketing refers to the support necessary for employees to be able to keep made promises, and interactive marketing is the actual act of keeping a made promise. All three dimensions must work in concert. It is not enough to simply make promises (external marketing) but promises must be kept (interactive marketing), and in order for this to occur, employees must be provided with the proper training and support (e.g., access to the latest technology, merchandise in stock, order tracking capability, etc.) in order to have the ability to deliver on made promises (internal marketing). Promise keeping is critically important every time, with every customer " . . . promises are kept or broken and the reliability of service is tested every time the customer interacts with the organization" (Bitner, 1995, p. 248). Expanding on the definition of relationship marketing proposed by Gronroos (1990a), Bitner (1995) sees promises as a key aspect of successful relationship marketing. She said " . . . making realistic promises and enabling delivery of service promises" (p. 246) are key determinants of successful promise keeping (and therefore successful relationship marketing). One problem, however, is that to many organizations external relationship marketing consists of loyalty programs alone, which require minimal customer contact by

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57 employees. Berry (1995) called the bonds formed with customers through loyalty programs the lowest level of relationship marketing. A much higher bond is a social bond formed between the end consumer and the organization’s employees. Customers with limited exposure to an organization have limited experiences in which to base judgments. Because of this limited experience, customers will rely on the perceived trustworthiness of the organization (Garbarino & Johnson, 1999). Verhoef, Franses, and Hoekstra (2002) used this notion to hypothesize that trust would have a lessening effect on relational outcomes as the length of the relationship grew (when customers would base their judgments more on experience with the organization). Previous positive encounters with an organization will help build trust and relationship commitment (Morgan & Hunt, 1994). However, a combination of negative and positive encounters with the service organization will leave a customer unsure of the relationship, and vulnerable to competitive appeals (Bitner, 1995). Pressey and Mathews (2000) stated, " . . . whatever the industry might be it is important to build trust and commitment, have a long time horizon and facilitate information exchange if a relationship is to be the final goal" (p. 273). Morgan and Hunt (1994) put forth the notion that trust and commitment are relationship keys. However, trust and commitment need to flow from both parties in a relationship (Kalafatis & Miller, 1998). Specific market factors or the particular nature of a relationship may impact the development of trust and commitment. Trust is an important element in how employees relate to the organization (Perry, 2004). Gilbert and Tang (1998) stated “Organizational trust is a feeling of confidence and support in an employer; it is the belief that an employer will be straightforward and will follow through on commitments” (p. 322). Callaghan, McPhail, and Yau (1995) define

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58 trust as the extent to which one party to a relationship can rely on the integrity of the promises made by the other. Trust has been seen as a central variable in relationships in service marketing (Berry & Parasuraman, 1991), in retailing (Berry, 1983), and in relationship marketing (Morgan & Hunt, 1994). Sin et al. (2002) use the social dimension of bonding (as opposed to structural bonds), and identify developing and enhancing loyalty (and creating a sense of belonging to the organization) as the primary dimension. Gilbert and Tang (1998) found that age, marital status, and work group cohesiveness were positively related to organizational trust. Morgan and Hunt (1994) define trust as " . . . existing when one party has confidence in an exchange partner's reliability and integrity” (p. 23). Willingness is implied in this definition as an exchange partner cannot be considered trustworthy if " . . . one were not willing to take actions that otherwise would entail risk” (p. 23). Willingness should be looked at as a potential outcome of trust, not as part of its definition (Morgan & Hunt, 1994). Trust has been shown to be a key component in service relationships (Berry & Parasuraman, 1991). In part because services typically have to be purchased before experiencing it, Verhoef et al. (2002) define trust as customer confidence in the quality and reliability of the service provided. One of the challenges facing researchers studying employee trust, is trust of whom? Some studies use the organization as the object of trust (L. Barnes, 1981) while others use direct supervisors (Robinson, 1996). Trust is an important component of social exchange. Dwyer et al. (1987) argued that trust “ . . . is an important concept in understanding expectations for cooperation and planning in a relational contract” (p. 18). Geyskens, Steenkamp, Scheer, and Kumar (1996) see trust as antecedent to satisfaction and commitment and not a variable with

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59 direct effect on consumer behavior. Other researchers have taken this position as well when developing models to explain relationship marketing management impacts on consumer behaviors (Verhoef, 2003). The effect of trust on relational outcomes has not been agreed upon in the literature (Verhoef, Franses, & Hoekstra, 2002). Gwinner, et al. (1998) found that trust had a significant positive effect on customer referrals. However, research on marketing channels has typically shown no, or a weak effect of trust on relational outcomes (E. Anderson & Weitz, 1989; Doney & Cannon, 1997). Hennig-Thurau and Gwinner (2002) found that trust impacted commitment only through satisfaction. Gilbert and Tang (1998) did not find a significant association between race or gender and organizational trust. Risk reduction, added value, and a higher level of service quality have all been identified as customer benefits of remaining loyal to a service organization (Berry, 1995). (Bitner, 1995) postulated that additional benefits to the consumer include an increased sense of well being and greater overall life satisfaction, a reduction in stress (particularly for complex services such as legal, or medical care), and a simplification of their daily routine. Relationship marketing can be used as a tool to generate customer loyalty, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction (Berry, 1983). Successful relationship marketing will lead to customer loyalty, even when " . . . it is contrary to the customer's self-interest" such as a losing season, or increase in ticket prices (Shani, 1997, p. 11). One way to fully engage customers and increase loyalty is to take advantage of multiple channels (on site, internet, phone) that can help to deepen relationships. Griffin (2002) state "Whether they call, e-mail, use your website, or walk into your store, customers expect to receive consistent service no matter how they engage your company” (p.26).

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60 They continue by stating that if standards of service are inconsistent “ . . . additional channels will work against you, not for you, in growing customer loyalty" (p. 26). Two events have impacted how companies pursue customer loyalty. First, the Internet has changed the customer organization interaction. Customers expect to be able to pull marketing information on their own terms. Second, technology with regard to knowledge management has allowed organizations more innovative ways to maintain customer relationships (Griffin, 2002). Relationship marketing theory puts forth the notion that a customer's perception of the strength of the relationship in part shapes the behavior within the relationship (Garbarino & Johnson, 1999). Research has shown that affective commitment is a good representation of strength of relationship (Moorman, Zaltman, & Desphande, 1992). In addition to assessing strength of relationship, a customer's perception of a provider’s offerings also shapes behavior (Garbarino & Johnson, 1999). Bolton and Lemon (1999) showed that satisfaction and payment equity are constructs that represent the strength of the provider’s offerings. In a longitudinal study within the insurance industry, Verhoef (2003) found that the consumer relationship perceptions of satisfaction and payment equity were not significant predictors of either customer retention or customer share. He did find, however, that affective commitment had a positive effect on both customer retention and customer share. Verhoef (2003) also studied relationship marketing instruments and found that loyalty programs had a positive effect on both customer retention and customer share, and that direct mailings had a positive effect on customer share. Morgan and Hunt (1994) define commitment as one partner within a relationship believing that the relationship is important enough to dedicate maximum effort to

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61 maintaining it. Hennig-Thurau and Klee (1997) define commitment as " . . . a customer's long term ongoing orientation toward a relationship (affective aspect) and on the conviction that remaining in the relationship will yield higher net benefits than terminating it (cognitive aspect)” (p. 752). Other researchers have further defined commitment in terms of two dimensions; affective commitment and calculative commitment (Gundlach, Achrol, & Mentzer, 1995; Verhoef, Franses, & Hoekstra, 2002). Affective commitment is a psychological attachment based on loyalty, identification, and affiliation (Gundlach, Achrol, & Mentzer, 1995) and calculative commitment is based on the exchange partner's perception of termination or switching costs (Geyskens, Steenkamp, Scheer, & Kumar, 1996; Verhoef, Franses, & Hoekstra, 2002). Because affective commitment is based on positive feelings held by one exchange partner, those positive feelings should result in positive behavior. Bettencourt (1997) found that affective commitment was positively related to voluntary behavior. Verhoef et al. (2002) hypothesized that this impact on voluntary behavior would effect both customer referrals and the number of services purchased. Others have described calculative commitment as a negative motivation to continue the exchange relationship (Geyskens, Steenkamp, Scheer, & Kumar, 1996). Verhoef et al. (2002) adopted this position when they hypothesized that customers with higher levels of calculative commitment would not engage in positive customer referrals, but would be positively related to the number of services purchased as perceived switching costs have been shown to be drivers of behavioral loyalty (Dick & Basu, 1994). Because calculative commitment is defined by perceptions of termination and switching costs, as the length of a relationship increases, the levels of termination and switching

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62 costs tend to increase due to increasing experience and familiarity of one supplier versus another. This learning process has the effect of locking a customer into a particular relationship (Nilssen, 2000). Verhoef et al. (2002) hypothesized that because customer switching costs will increase as the length of the relationship increases (as well as an increasing awareness of those switching costs) that calculative commitment would be negatively related to positive customer referrals and positively related to number of services purchased. Griffin (2002) stated "Loyalty building requires the company to emphasize the value of its products or services and to show that it is interested in building a relationship with the customer” (p. 9). Cheung (2000) used structural equation modeling to demonstrate that organizational support to an employee, and the employee’s commitment to the organization were related. This relationship between organizational support and employee commitment was shown to exist at all employment levels: The reciprocal relationships, not merely a correlation, buttress exchange theory as an explanatory framework for organizational behavior. By the rationality of the principal, the theory posits that relations between individuals and organizations persist when they find and expect relations to be rewarding. These expectations and associations were reciprocal, as governed by the principal of reciprocity of exchange theory. Hence, the social behavior and response of only one of the parties cannot sustain a relationship. Moreover, the principal of specificity contends that exchange is likely and satisfactory when it involves similar objects. Accordingly, monetary reward alone cannot effectively induce and compensate for one’s commitment to the organization. This principal reflects the importance of organizational support for employees’ commitment. (Cheung, 2000, p. 135) Where satisfaction can be an unreliable predictor of repeat purchase, loyalty has shown to be a good predictor (Griffin, 2002). Loyalty has two important dimensions. The first is customer retention. This is the length of the relationship. It is the percentage of customers who make repeat purchases over some finite time period. The second, share of

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63 customer, is the percentage of a customer's budget for a firm's product or service spent with a particular firm (Griffin, 2002). Both factors of loyalty are important, as simply identifying repeat purchase over time is not a good indicator of loyalty alone. For example, a consumer may be purchasing from an organization on a regular basis, but upon closer inspection it may be discovered that a large percentage of the consumer's budget for the products or services that are being offered by the organization are being purchased elsewhere (low share of customer) (Griffin, 2002). Different customer relationship perceptions and different relationship marketing instruments influence customer retention and customer share development (Verhoef, 2003). "The rationale for this distinction is that a customer's decision to stay in a relationship with a firm may be different from his or her incremental decision to add or drop existing products" (Verhoef, 2003, p. 31). Attachment to a service is important in developing customer loyalty. Griffin (2002, p. 21) stated "Attachment is highest when the customer has a strong preference for a product or service and clearly differentiates it from competitive products" (p. 21). Some authors have used retention synonymous with loyalty. Although similar, customer loyalty and customer retention is not the same thing (Hennig-Thurau & Klee, 1997). Loyalty has typically been defined as having both behavioral and attitudinal components (Jacoby & Chestnut, 1978). Customer retention does not have an attitudinal component (Hennig-Thurau & Klee, 1997). Additionally, customer retention takes on a managerial perspective in that it looks to repeat behavior triggered by managerial actions (Hennig-Thurau & Klee, 1997). Information learned within loyalty research (and in particular, repeat purchase behavior) can only be applied in relation to customer retention when that

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64 research refers to marketing activities and / or behavioral aspects (Hennig-Thurau & Klee, 1997). Retention is an important dimension for organizational profitability. It is argued to lead to cost reduction (the lower cost servicing a better educated consumer, amortization of marketing costs over a longer time period) and increased sales (including positive word of mouth advertising, and a willingness to pay premium prices) (Reicheld & Sasser, 1990). The intellectual capital of an organization only becomes a sustainable competitive advantage when employees become committed to the organization. Internal marketing is a tool organizations can use to increase employee commitment (Straughan & Cooper, 2002). Morgan and Hunt (1994) found that both commitment and trust are mediating variables between the antecedents and outcomes in a relationship exchange. Relationship commitment can only exist when the relationship is considered important. The authors recommend fostering commitment and trust among those involved in the relationship by “ . . . providing resources, opportunities, and benefits that are superior to the offerings of alternative partners . . . (and) . . . communicating valuable information, including expectations . . . ” (p. 34). Mowday, Steers, and Porter (1979) define organizational commitment as an employee’s involvement and identification with the organization. Researchers have shown organizational commitment to influence turnover, productivity, and absenteeism (Meyer & Allen, 1984). The longer employees stays committed to an organization the more productive they become. They become better skilled at their job, and learn to identify and retain profitable customers (Reicheld, 1996b). Organizations can improve employee commitment by the provision of adequate information, and the formulation of reasonable and clear goals (Cheung, 2000). Those within a relationship

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65 who occupy a weaker power position (i.e., with few, or poor alternatives) are more likely to make a commitment than those in a superior position of power. Robinson (1996) defines a psychological contract as “ . . . employees’ perception of what they owe to their employers and what their employers owe them” (p. 574). She argues that due to globalization, organizational restructuring, and downsizing that psychological contracts are being changed by organizations. The traditional exchange of long term security for hard work and loyalty may no longer be valid (Sims, 1994). Perceived organizational support and satisfaction with rewards was shown to be a predictor of affective commitment (O'Driscoll & Randall, 1999). A key finding was that intrinsic rewards (variety, challenge) had a stronger association with affective commitment than extrinsic rewards (pay, benefits). Bauer (2000) stated “Rewards and recognition, opportunity for feedback, and help with achieving a healthy work/life balance are likely to enable employees to feel valued and satisfied” (p. 95). Perceived organizational support impacts employee expectancy that effort toward the organization’s goals will be rewarded (Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison, & Sowa, 1986). Poor organizational commitment may lead to reduced employee commitment and productivity, increased absenteeism, and employee turnover (Hargie, Dickson, & Tourish, 1999). Reicheld (1996b) suggests that existing employees’ referral positively impacts potential customers and job applicants. Turnover intent has been shown to be a direct antecedent to actual turnover. In a study of employees of a publishing company, Russ and McNeilly (1995) found that inexperienced employees showed a higher intention to leave the organization than those employees with more experience. For those employees with more experience in the

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66 organization, it was found that working conditions had a greater impact on organizational commitment. Intention to leave was a weaker indicator of organizational commitment for women. For women, satisfaction with superiors was more strongly correlated with organizational commitment (Russ & McNeilly, 1995). Summary When originally developed in the 1960s and 1970s, the traditional approach to marketing was appropriate because the business focus was primarily on goods. Today, however, with an ever increasing services market, traditional approaches are inadequate for successful relationship building (Gronroos, 1995). This is not to say that a relationship marketing approach is always the best choice. Relationship marketing is expensive and as such only those customers with good profit potential should be targeted (Gronroos, 1995). In addition, there are simply some customers who do not want to form relationships with organizations. For these groups, traditional marketing approaches are a better choice (Gronroos, 1995). Some consumers do not want a relationship at all with a service provider, while other consumers want a relationship in some instances and not in others (Gronroos, 2004). Gronroos (1997) described this as the consumer being in a relational mode or transactional mode. Consumers in a relational mode can be in an active or passive mode. Consumers in an active mode seek contact, while those in a passive mode are satisfied that the organization will be there when needed (Gronroos, 1997). Organizations should identify those customers with the greatest likelihood of becoming loyal (profitable) and focus relationship marketing efforts there. Because some customers are more profitable treated as transaction specific, organizations may wish to implement dual strategies: relationship marketing and traditional marketing approaches. Even within a relationship marketing program, organizations may wish to tailor the

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67 extent of their relationship marketing efforts for different customer groups (e.g. in store customers versus internet customers, day visitors versus season ticket holders) (Berry, 1995). It is argued, in this study, that the easiest customer to identify and the one with the most potential impact on profitability are an organization’s employees. The core products for theme park operators are the physical aspects of the park itself; including the rides, shows, food and beverage, characters, etc. However, with limited exceptions (Disney characters as an example), the physical characteristics of all theme parks are similar. Therefore, services in support of these core offerings are really what theme parks are competing on. Those organizations that can better manage these elements will create added value for consumers, and gain a competitive advantage (Gronroos, 2004). Relationship marketing requires more effort than transaction marketing. Because of this, relationship marketing efforts must create greater value for consumers (or some other party with an impact on the service process) than transaction specific marketing efforts (Gronroos, 2004). In addition, for relationship marketing efforts to be successful, the consumer must perceive and appreciate the additional value (Gronroos, 2004). On top of the value of the products or services that are exchanged, the relationship between the service provider and the consumer creates additional value. Gronroos (2004) stated "An on going relationship may, for example, offer the customer security, a feeling of control and sense of trust, minimized purchasing risks, and in the final analysis reduced costs of being a customer" (p. 99). Shared value refers to beliefs held in common between those in the relationship (Morgan & Hunt, 1994). Beliefs include behaviors, goals and policies and their importance, appropriateness, and the degree to which they are right or wrong. When transactions are the foundation, the

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68 exchange of the product for money becomes the basis for consumers' value judgments (Gronroos, 2004). When relationships are the core, value has a larger meaning. Successful relationship marketing will produce higher customer satisfaction, increased customer loyalty and ultimately, higher organizational profitability (through increased sales performance and lower production and marketing costs) (Evans & Laskin, 1994). Customer share and customer retention rates are important measures within customer relationship management. Customer share is defined as the ratio of customer purchases of a particular product or service from a particular supplier to the total number of purchases made within the category of products or services from all suppliers. Verhoef et al. (2002) identified two relational outcomes. Customer referrals is defined as " . . . the extent to which customers advised other customers . . . to do business with the . . . supplier" (p. 203). Number of services purchased is the total number of services purchased from a service provider. Rust, Zeithaml, and Lemon (2000) identified these as important outcomes as well because of their impact on a customer’s monetary worth to the organization. Wayne, Shore and Liden (1997) found that employees who received more training (both formal and informal) reported higher levels of perceived organizational support. They also found that those employees who received more promotions over the past five years reported a higher level of perceived organizational support, “ . . . when organizations invest in and provide recognition for employees, they may also be encouraging the development of strong social exchange relationships” (Wayne, Shore, & Liden, 1997, p. 105). Perceived organizational support was related to relationship outcomes including affective commitment, and intention to quit (Wayne, Shore, & Liden,

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69 1997). Using a simple correlation, it was shown that perceived organizational support was related to job performance. However, using structural equation modeling leader member exchange was shown to be a much stronger predictor of job performance (Wayne, Shore, & Liden, 1997). The authors speculated that employees view job performance as an obligation not to the organization, but to immediate managers. Sin et al. (2005) developed a relationship marketing orientation instrument. Through the use of this measure, they were able to show that an organization’s relationship marketing orientation had a positive effect on business performance (defined in terms of; sales growth, customer retention, return on investment, and market share). Wayne, Shore and Liden (1997) found that perceived organizational support and leader/member exchange are different (although related) constructs. Leader/member exchange was shown to have a stronger effect on perceived organizational support. Because the leader typically distributes the rewards provided by the organization including salary, emotional support and information, the leader/member exchange has a large impact on perceived organizational support. A relationship with a customer can help organizations overcome lapses in product or service performance (Crosby & Stephens, 1987; Priluck, 2003). Serving customers through the delivery of quality service has become increasingly important as organizations shift from traditional marketing approaches to a relationship marketing focus. The personal interaction between front line employees and external customers impacts satisfaction with, and commitment to, the organization (Colgate & Alexander, 1998). Research has been conducted which focuses on the relationship between organizational effectiveness as it relates to external customers (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1988; Taylor, 1994; V. Zeithaml, Berry, & Parasuraman, 1996).

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70 Little research, however, has studied organizational effectiveness as it relates to internal customers (employees); (G. Gilbert, 2000). Researchers have shown a link between job satisfaction and external customer satisfaction and loyalty (Deming, 1986; Reicheld & Sasser, 1990), between communication satisfaction and job satisfaction (Pettit, Goris, & Vaught, 1997) and employee productivity (Hargie, Tourish, & Wilson, 2002). In addition, research has shown a link between relationship marketing orientation and organizational performance (Sin et al., 2005; Sin, Tse, Yau, Lee, & Chow, 2002). Deshpande et al. (1993) found that an organizations customer orientation (as reported by the organization’s customers) was positively related to business performance. In addition, they found that the customer’s perception of an organization’s customer orientation was more important than an organization’s own perceptions. Conduit and Mavondo (2001) found that internal communication and personnel management were positively related to internal customer orientation. They also found that management support and personnel management were positively related to market orientation. Jones et al. (2003) found that front line employees’ customer orientation was positively associated with external customers’ propensity to leave. That is, external customers interacting with employees holding a higher customer orientation indicated a lower propensity to switch suppliers. Although employee customer orientation has been studied in a variety of contexts, the majority of research involves salespeople. This study applied the Selling Orientation-Customer Orientation (SOCO) scale developed by Saxe and Weitz (1982) to employees who are paid by the hour and; therefore, not directly dependent upon the external customer for their compensation. To date, research has not explored the impact job satisfaction or communication satisfaction has on employee customer orientation. This

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71 study investigated the relationship between job satisfaction and employee customer orientation and the relationship between communication satisfaction and employee customer orientation. Research within relationship marketing has explored relationship marketing orientation at the organizational level. To date, no research has attempted to measure relationship marketing orientation at the individual level. This study took the first exploratory steps in the development of a measure of relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level. Finally, this study investigated the relationship between relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level and customer orientation.

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CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Organizations can no longer afford to compete on price or product attributes alone. For organizations (including traditional manufacturers of goods), the product itself is less a point of competitive advantage. Even continuous product development typically will not lead to a sustainable competitive advantage, only the associated service remains for differentiation (Gronroos, 2004). The purpose of this study was outlined in Chapter I. In Chapter II, a review of the relevant literature, including customer satisfaction, job satisfaction, communication satisfaction, customer orientation and relationship marketing orientation was conducted. The focus of this chapter is the research method used in the study. To this end, the hypotheses will be outlined, and the survey instrument development, selection of subjects, collection of data, and data analysis procedures will be reviewed. Statement of Purpose The primary theoretical approach used by researchers in relationship marketing is based on a behavioral perspective, including work on satisfaction, trust, and internal relationships (Hennig-Thurau & Hansen, 2000a). One purpose of this study was to explore front line employee job satisfaction, communication satisfaction and customer orientation within a theme park setting. Providing managers within theme parks a tool for identifying what employee dimensions may impact customer orientation is an anticipated outcome. The interaction between job satisfaction and customer orientation, between communication satisfaction and customer orientation, and between relationship 72

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73 marketing orientation at the front line employee level and customer orientation was investigated. A variety of demographic and work factors were measured to determine their impacts on employee customer orientat ion. A second purpose of this study was to explore the development of a scale to measur e the relationship marketing orientation of individual front line employees. Presentation of Hypotheses The dependent variable used in this st udy was a composite measure of customer orientation. Independent vari ables include measures of job satisfaction (individual dimensions and a composite measure), comm unication satisfaction (individual measures and a composite measure), relationship marke ting orientation at th e individual employee level (composite measure) and various demogr aphic and work variables (including; age, gender, length of employment, full or part time employment, and percentage of time spent in direct customer contact). The hypotheses are stated as they relate to the research objectives outlined in chapter one. Both the alternative and null hypotheses are stated for each research objective. Objective 1 The first objective of this study was to determine the relati onship between job satisfaction and customer orie ntation among front line employees in a theme park setting. H1:A1 Satisfaction with the job in general is related to custom er orientation, with more satisfied employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N1 Satisfaction with the job in genera l is not related to customer orientation.

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74 H1:A2 Satisfaction with work on present job is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with work reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N2 Satisfaction with work on present job is not related to customer orientation. H1:A3 Satisfaction with supervision is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with their supervision reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N3 Satisfaction with supervision is not related to customer orientation. H1:A4 Satisfaction with opportunities for promotion is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with promotion opportunities reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N4 Satisfaction with opportunities for promotion is not related to customer orientation. H1:A5 Satisfaction with people at work is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with co-workers reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N5 Satisfaction with people at work is not related to customer orientation. H1:A6 Satisfaction with present pay is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with pay reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N6 Satisfaction with present pay is not related to customer orientation.

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75 Objective 2 The second objective of this study was to determine the relationship between communication satisfaction and customer orientation among front line employees in a theme park setting. H2:A1 Overall communication satisfaction is related to customer orientation, with more satisfied employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N1 Overall communication satisfaction is not related to customer orientation. H2:A2 Satisfaction with the organization's communication climate is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with the organization's communication climate reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N2 Satisfaction with the organization's communication climate is not related to customer orientation. H2:A3 Satisfaction with supervisory communication is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with supervisory communication reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N3 Satisfaction with supervisory communication is not related to customer orientation. H2:A4 Satisfaction with communication concerning organizational integration is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with communication concerning organizational integration reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N4 Satisfaction with communication concerning organizational integration is not related to customer orientation.

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76 H2:A5 Satisfaction with the organization's media quality is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with the organization's media quality reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N5 Satisfaction with the organization's media quality is not related to customer orientation. H2:A6 Satisfaction with co-worker communication is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with co-worker communication reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N6 Satisfaction with co-worker communication is not related to customer orientation. H2:A7 Satisfaction with corporate information is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with corporate information reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N7 Satisfaction with corporate information is not related to customer orientation. H2:A8 Satisfaction with personal feedback is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with personal feedback reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N8 Satisfaction with personal feedback is not related to customer orientation. Objective 3 The next objective of this study was to determine the relationship between various demographic (age, gender) and work (overall length of employment, overall length of employment within the current job category, full time vs. part time employment,

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77 percentage of time spent in direct customer contact) characteristics and customer orientation among front line employees in a theme park setting. H3:A1 Age is related to customer orientation, with older employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N1 Age is not related to customer orientation. H3:A2 Gender is related to customer orientation, with female employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N2 Gender is not related to customer orientation. H3:A3 Overall length of employment with the current employer is related to customer orientation, with longer-term employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N3 Overall length of employment with the current employer is not related to customer orientation. H3:A4 Length of employment within the current job category with the current employer is related to customer orientation, with longer-term employees within their current job category reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N4 Length of employment within the current job category with the current employer is not related to customer orientation. H3:A5 Type of employment (full time vs. part time) is related to customer orientation, with full time employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N5 Type of employment (full time vs. part time) is not related to customer orientation.

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78 H3:A6 Percentage of time spent in direct customer contact is related to customer orientation, with employees spending a higher percentage of time in direct customer contact reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N6 Percentage of time spent in direct customer contact is not related to customer orientation. Objective 4 The last objective of this study was to make a preliminary investigation into the measurement of relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level. This study determined if the 15 questions developed for this study are a reliable measure of relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level and if they represent a smaller number of unknown dimensions. In addition, this study determined whether relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level is associated with customer orientation. H4:A1 Relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level is related to customer orientation, with those employees with a higher relationship marketing orientation reporting a higher customer orientation. H4:N1 Relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level is not related to customer orientation. Survey Instrument Development This study used a survey design. A primary concern with any social research is threats to internal validity. Babbie (2004) defines internal invalidity as “ . . . the possibility that the conclusions drawn from experimental results may not accurately reflect what has gone on in the experiment itself” (pg.226). Babbie (2004) identified threats to internal validity that were addressed in this study.

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79 History refers to events that may have occurred during the course of the study that impact the results (e.g., 9/11). This study used a cross sectional design. Participants completed the survey instrument only one time, and the time between the initial survey distribution and the final follow-up was six weeks, minimizing the potential for history impacts to the sample. Instrumentation refers to how instruments used in the study were scored, or measurements taken. Dillman (2000) refers to this potential source of error as measurement error. The survey instrument used in this study (Appendix A) was composed of three established scales deemed reliable and valid over years of use and one scale developed in this study designed to make an exploratory investigation only (Table 4-2 Alpha Results). In addition, one researcher handled all data collection and imputation. Open ended questions were not used in this study for analysis, further reducing potential impacts due to instrumentation (measurement error). Statistical regression refers to potential impacts due to selecting participants who represent the extremes of the selected variable. In this study, a census of all front line employees was conducted. Because sampling was not used, impacts due to statistical regression were not an issue. Dillman (2000) identified three additional sources of survey error. Sampling error refers to error as a result of surveying some, but not all of the population under study. In this study a census of all front line employees was conducted, eliminating the possibility of sampling error. Coverage error refers to error that results when not all members of the survey population have an equal chance of selection. Because sampling was not used in this study, coverage error is controlled. Finally, non-response error refers to error that may occur if non-respondent opinions vary significantly from respondents. This study had a 48.5% response rate and a higher number of usable

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80 responses (n = 146) were collected than required (n = 136) to obtain a sampling error equal to .05 with 95% confidence in the results based on Dillman's (2000) sample size formula (Figure 3-1). Ns = (Np) * (p) * (1-p) / (Np-1) * (B/C)2 + (p) * (1-p) Ns = Completed sample size needed for desired level of precision Np = Population size P = Proportion of the population expected to choose one of the two response categories (80/20 represents a more homogeneous population) B = Acceptable amount of sampling error. .05 represents +/5% of the true population value C = Z statistic associated with confidence level (1.96 = 95% C.I.) Figure 3-1. Sample Size Determination Formula. Dillman (2000) Dependent Variable Customer Orientation : The dependent variable in this study was customer orientation. It was measured using a shortened version of the Selling-Orientation Customer-Orientation (SOCO) scale developed by Saxe & Weitz (1982). Respondents were asked to respond to five statements designed to measure a customer orientation and five questions designed to measure a selling orientation. Respondents were asked to indicate how they typically interact with customers in a variety of situations. Each question was on a nine point Likert scale, anchored from Never to Always. Independent Variables The independent variables, in this study, were: job satisfaction, (including satisfaction with work on present job, satisfaction with present pay, satisfaction with opportunities for promotion, satisfaction with supervision, satisfaction with people at work, and satisfaction with the job in general), communication satisfaction (including satisfaction with organizational communication, satisfaction with supervisory

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81 communication, satisfaction with communication concerning organizational integration, satisfaction with the organization's media quality, satisfaction with co-worker communication, satisfaction with corporate information, satisfaction with personal feedback, and overall communication satisfaction), demographic variables (including age, gender, length of employment with the present employer, length of employment within the current job category with the present employer, percentage of time spent in direct customer contact, and full time vs. part time employment), and relationship marketing orientation. Job Satisfaction: All dimensions of job satisfaction were measured using the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) developed by Smith, Kendall, and Hulin (1969). The JDI identifies six dimensions of employee job satisfaction: satisfaction with work, supervision, possibility for promotion, coworkers, pay, and satisfaction with the job in general. The JDI presents a series of short phrases to which respondents are asked to respond either in agreement, disagreement, or not sure. The scoring system for the items within each scale is as follows: Agreement responses (yes) to positive items, and disagreement responses (no) to negative items = 3 points; disagreement responses (no) to positive items, and agreement responses (yes) to negative items = 0 points, a response of don’t know (represented by a question mark) given to either type of question = 1 point. Communication Satisfaction: All dimensions of communication satisfaction were measured using the Communication Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ) developed by Downs and Hazen (1977). The CSQ identifies eight dimensions of communication satisfaction: satisfaction with the organization's communication climate, satisfaction with supervisory communication, satisfaction with communication concerning organizational

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82 integration, satisfaction with the organization's media quality, satisfaction with co-worker communication, satisfaction with corporate information, satisfaction with personal feedback, and satisfaction with subordinate communication (satisfaction with subordinate communication was not considered in this study because it only applies to those employees holding supervisory positions). The CSQ asks respondents to indicate how satisfied they are with the amount or kind of communications received. Respondents indicate satisfaction on a seven point Likert scale anchored by the terms Very Dissatisfied and Very Satisfied. Age: An open-ended question asked respondents to indicate their age (in years). Gender: Respondents were asked to indicate if they were male or female. Length of Employment with the Present Employer: Respondents were asked to indicate how long they had worked for the theme park under study (in years and months). Length of Employment within the Current Job Category with the Present Employer: Respondents were asked to indicate how long they had worked in their current department (in years and months). Percentage of Time Spent in Direct Customer Contact: Respondents were asked to indicate the percentage of time at work they spent in direct contact with the customer. Full Time vs. Part Time Employment: Respondents were asked to indicate if they were full time or part time employees of the theme park under study. Relationship Marketing Orientation: Relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level was measured using 15 questions developed in this study. Respondents were asked to describe their relationship with their customers using a seven point Likert scale anchored by the terms Disagree and Agree.

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83 Scales Customer Orientation The scale used to measure customer orientation was a shortened version of the 24 item Selling Orientation – Customer Orientation (SOCO) scale (developed by Saxe and Weitz (1982)) validated by Thomas, Soutar, and Ryan (2001). The SOCO instrument is a self-assessment scale designed to evaluate a salesperson’s desire to: help customers, assess customer needs, offer satisfactory products or services, and adequately describe products or services in selling (Thomas, Soutar, & Ryan, 2001).The SOCO instrument has been used in a variety of settings (real estate, advertising, industrial salespeople, insurance) and from a multiple views (including consumers of retail products). It has been determined to be a reliable and valid measure of the customer orientation of salespeople (either from the salesperson perspective, or the customer perspective); (see: Dunlap, Dotson, & Chambers, 1988; see: Michaels & Day, 1985; O'Hara, Boles, & Johnston, 1991). Saxe and Weitz (1982) used the following procedures to develop and validate the SOCO instrument designed to measure an employee’s customer orientation. The first step was a thorough literature review and interviews with salespeople and sales managers in order to develop the initial item pool containing 104 items. Expert judges (consisting of 11 sales managers and 13 marketing academics) were then asked to rate each item from Clearly Representative to Not Representative of customer-oriented selling. Only those items consistently classified as representative were kept. This step reduced the number in the item pool to 70. A pilot study of the items was conducted with a sample of salespeople representing a variety of industries. Respondents were asked to indicate the proportion of their customers with whom they act in the manner described by each

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84 question on a seven point Likert scale from Always to Never. A reliability coefficient alpha = .86 was obtained. A principal axes factor analysis was conducted. A two factor structure accounting for 73% of the variance was observed. The first factor accounting for 53% of the variance represented customer orientation. The second factor accounting for 20% of the variance separated the positively stated items from the negatively stated items. The negatively worded items were reverse scored and a total score for each respondent was calculated. The 12 positively worded and the 12 negatively worded items with the highest item-total correlations (> .35) were selected for the scale. Following this initial scale development, the completed SOCO instrument was administered to a second sample of salespeople. A reliability coefficient alpha = .83 was obtained. In addition to measuring internal consistency, the stability of the instrument was determined using a test-retest. A moderately high correlation (.67) indicated stability of the instrument. Because the skewness of the scale distributed to the first sample was relatively high (-1.33), the second scale distributed used a nine-point Likert scale vs. the seven-point scale used with the first sample (reducing skewness in the second sample to -.88). Content validity was evidenced by the high consensus among the expert judges rating the original items (on average 79% agreed that a retained item was “clearly representative”). Convergent validity was indicated by a high correlation (r = .56) between an employee’s customer orientation and a long-term time orientation. Discriminant validity was indicted by a negative correlation (r = -.47) between high customer orientation and a willingness of employees to engage in manipulative behavior (as measured using the MACH IV scale). Finally, evidence of validity based on the construct’s relationship with other variables was investigated. Evidence of the validity of

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85 the SOCO instrument was demonstrated by comparing high customer orientation scores with the amount of repeat business of individual salespeople. Those salespeople scoring highest on the SOCO instrument (indicating a high customer orientation) had greater amounts of repeat business vs. those salespeople scoring lower. In a study of 354 industrial buyers, Tadepalli (1995) found the original 24 item SOCO scale, and the modified version put fourth by Michaels and Day (1985) (even with slight modifications, including a purchaser point of view toward a single salesperson) to be a reliable and valid measures of a salesperson’s customer orientation. In a study involving salespeople, sales managers, and customers, Thomas, et al. (2001) investigated the reliability and validity of a shortened (10 item) version of the SOCO instrument. They did find that customer orientation of salespeople could be measured “ . . . with little information loss . . . ” by using the shortened scale (pg. 69). The original SOCO scale was investigated and the two-factor model results reported by Saxe and Weitz (1982) was replicated. However, after using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling, Thomas et al. (2001) found that a ten item scale (2 = 198, df = 102; GFI = .95; NFI = .92; CFI = .91) produced a better model fit than the original 24 item scale (2 = 1282, df = 753 GFI = .86; NFI = .97; CFI = .80). The correlations between subscales from the original 24 item scale and the subscales from the 10 item scale were compared. The subscales from each measure were greater than .90. Indicating that the 10-item measure suffered little information loss. The results were consistent for salespeople, sales managers, and customers. Shortening the number of items is beneficial in that it may represent a “ . . . more reliable and valid measurement by reducing respondent fatigue and acquiescence bias” (Thomas, et al., pg 69). In addition, it is argued that this 10 item

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86 version of the SOCO scale is a better choice for managers and researchers as it allows more information to be gathered (i.e., multiple concepts can be measured in a single survey distributed to employees). In a study of 354 marketing professionals, Periatt, LeMay, and Chakrabarty (2004) found the shortened version of the SOCO scale proposed by Thomas et al. (2001) to be a reliable and valid measure of salespersons’ customer orientation. Communication Satisfaction Communication satisfaction was assessed using the Communication Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ) developed by Downs and Hazen (1977). Researchers attempting to validate the dimensionality of the CSQ have shown a variety of underlying factors. The developers identified eight underlying factors while others have identified as many as ten (Varona, 1996) or as few as six (Greenbaum & Willinganz, 1988). Other researchers have validated the dimensionality identified by the instrument’s developers (Crino & White, 1981). Gray and Laidlaw (2004) questioned the validity of previous research attempts because researchers derived the factors post-hoc using exploratory factor analysis. Finch and West (1997) showed that while exploratory factor analysis may cluster items together, those items may not necessarily be measuring the same content. For this reason, Gray and Laidlaw (2004) used confirmatory factor analysis to confirm the underlying structure of the communication satisfaction questionnaire instrument. The authors used a series of one-factor congeneric measurement models to determine factor scores. Factors loaded with less than four variables, non-significant t-values, and a low squared multiple correlation (<0.3) were dropped from further analysis. A correlation matrix was calculated to ensure that intercorrelations between factors were low (<.70). Gray and Laidlaw (2004) identified the communication satisfaction questionnaire as valid, stating,

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87 The communication satisfaction questionnaire (CSQ) is one of the most comprehensive instruments available because it assesses the direction of information flow, the formal and informal channels of communication flow, relationships with various members of the organization, and the forms of communication. The usefulness of the CSQ is enhanced by being relatively easy to administer, and respondents need to spend only a short time to complete the instrument. (pg.428) Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction was assessed using the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) scale developed by Smith, Kendall, and Hulin (1969). The JDI identifies six dimensions of employee job satisfaction: satisfaction with work, supervision, possibility for promotion, co-workers, pay, and satisfaction with the job in general. The JDI presents a series of short phrases to which respondents are asked to respond either in agreement, disagreement, or not sure. The scoring system for the items within each scale is as follows: Agreement responses (yes) to positive items, and disagreement responses (no) to negative items = 3 points; disagreement responses (no) to positive items, and agreement responses (yes) to negative items = 0 points, a response of don’t know (represented by a question mark) given to either type of question = 1 point. Hanisch (1992) studied the appropriateness of the JDI scoring system. Specifically, the researcher was interested in determining if the use of a question mark (representing more of a negative response, 1.0 vs. 1.5 on a scale from 0 to 3 with 0 being a negative response) was still a valid approach. Her findings supported the use of a question mark representing a more negative response, first introduced in the original JDI. The JDI has been a long-used measure of job satisfaction. It is one of the most thoroughly developed measures of job satisfaction (Evans, Campbell, & Stonehouse, 2003) and one of the most popular used in research (O'Reilly, 1991). The original validation process took five years, and another extensive review was undertaken in 1980

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88 (Balzer, Kihm, Smith, Irwin, Bachiochi, & Robie, 2000). Reliability measures of the five dimensions were calculated over 1,600 cases and shown to be consistently high (satisfaction with work, = .90; satisfaction with pay, = .86; satisfaction with opportunities for promotion, = .87; satisfaction with supervision, = .91; satisfaction with co-workers, = .91); (Balzer et al., 2000). The JDI has been shown to be reliable and valid (Capella & Andrew, 2004; Parsons, 1998), and applicable in a wide range of settings (Roznowski, 1989). Roznowski (1989) stated “In terms of both predictive power and construct validity, the scales of the JDI have impressive relations with measures of organizationally and theoretically relevant criteria” (pg.805). Kinicki, McKee-Ryan, Schriesheim, and Carson (2002) assessed the construct validity of the JDI and found internal consistency, and test-retest reliability to be “ . . . moderately high . . . ” and recommended its use (pg.26). Roznowski (1989) stated that the JDI was useful for comparisons across studies, organizational contexts, and longitudinally. Roznowski (1989) used factor and correlation analysis to test the original dimensions of the JDI, along with additional updated questions designed to replace original items outdated by a modern business environment. Within each of the original dimensions identified by Smith, Kendall, and Hulin (1969), one to five items were replaced. Reliability for each of the newly defined dimensions increased. Relationship Marketing Orientation Relationship marketing orientation was assessed using an exploratory 15-item scale developed in this study. Previous researchers have developed a measure of relationship marketing orientation only at the organizational level (Sin, et al., 2005). This study took the first exploratory steps to measure relationship marketing orientation at the individual,

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89 front line employee level. An initial question pool of 105 items was developed through an extensive literature review. These initial 105 items were assembled into a survey instrument (Appendix B) and administered to a sample of experts (n = 15). Faculty and graduate students in the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida were asked to identify each item as Inappropriate to Appropriate as a measure of relationship marketing orientation at the individual level. For this initial measure, any item with a mean greater than 2.0 was kept for further analysis. This initial procedure reduced the item pool to 81 (Appendix C). A different group of experts from the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida (n = 12) were asked to rate the 81 items using the same criteria. For this stage, any item with a mean greater than 3.0 was kept for further analysis. This second stage reduced the item pool to 55 items. These remaining 55 items were assembled into a new survey instrument (Appendix D) and administered to a group of undergraduate students at the University of Florida (n = 35) designed to represent the population of this study (front line personnel). This final group was also asked to rate the appropriateness of each item. For this final stage, any item with a mean greater than 4.0 was kept. Fifteen items had a mean 4.0 or greater, and are included in this study. Selection of Respondents The population for this study was front line employees of a medium sized theme park in the southeast United States. “Front line employee” was defined in this study as hourly paid employees, who spend some percentage of their work time in direct customer contact, and are in non-management positions. Although a census of all front line employees was conducted (n = 301), sampling error, confidence level in the results, and non-response bias were still considered. To this end, a formula recommended by Dillman (2000) was used to determine an appropriate sample size based on the population size,

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90 proposed confidence level and desired sampling error (Figure 3-1). Because a sampling error equal to +/.05 with 95% confidence was desired in this study, a sample size of n = 136 was required. A final usable sample of 146 was collected. Estimates of statistical precision (and the calculated confidence in that precision) are based only on completed sample size. The results are only reliable when the completed sample size is coupled with an acceptable response rate (Dillman, 2000). In this study, of the initial surveys distributed (n = 417), a proportion were distributed to individuals no longer employed with the theme park under study (n = 98), and others were unable to be contacted because of invalid addresses (n = 20), leaving a usable population of 301 employees. A total of 146 usable responses were collected equaling a 48.5% response rate. Collection of Data Following recommendations by Dillman (2000), the initial step, after the construction of the survey instrument, and approval by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Florida (Appendix I), was to distribute it to a small group of individuals within the same or similar field which is the scope of the study for their opinions relating to content, construction, wording, etc. In addition, it is recommended that a small group of people from outside the field also be consulted. To this end, ten graduate students from the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida were asked to provide their opinions regarding the survey instrument. An additional five acquaintances of the researcher, from outside the department, were approached with the same request. In order to increase the reliability of the survey instrument, a pilot study consisting of ten members of the population of interest was conducted. A list of all front line employees of the theme park under study was acquired from theme park management.

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91 Ten names from the complete front line employee list were randomly selected using a random number generator. In collaboration with theme park management, those employees selected for the pilot study were contacted, and arrangements were made for them to be available for an in-person, on-site administration of the survey instrument. After completing the survey instrument, each participant was asked a series of questions relating to the survey design and construction, regarding question wording, content, definitions, and any additional questions, concerns, or difficulties the participant raised. The pilot test of the survey instrument resulted in no design or content changes. Following the pilot study, all employees within the study population were given a pre-survey cover letter (Appendix E). This letter informed the participants that a survey instrument was soon to be distributed and their participation was both important and appreciated. This pre-survey cover letter was on the letterhead of the theme park under study, was signed by the theme park owner, and contained words of participation importance from both management and ownership. Two weeks following the distribution of the pre-survey cover letter, the survey packet was distributed. The survey packet included the survey instrument itself. The survey instrument consisted of three pages bound into a book form with the dimensions 8 ” tall x 7” wide. This design has been shown to be the most conducive for total completion of all questions (Dillman, 2000). Along with the survey instrument, the envelope contained the survey cover letter (Appendix F). This cover letter was on University of Florida, Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management letterhead. Correspondence that comes from a recognized organization as opposed to an individual will garner a higher response rate (Dillman, 2000). This cover letter reiterated the importance of all employee participation;

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92 outlined all the Institutional Review Board requirements relating to confidentiality and voluntary participation, and contained researcher contact information. Also included in the packet was a self-addressed stamped return envelope. This envelope was addressed directly to: Matt Wagenheim Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management University of Florida 300 Florida Gym Gainesville, FL 32611. The return envelope was individually stamped (as opposed to business reply). Studies have shown that an individually stamped return envelope results in a higher response rate (Dillman, 2000). Finally, a pen was included in the survey packet to allow respondents to immediately complete the enclosed survey instrument. In addition to allowing respondents to immediately complete the survey instrument, a small token of appreciation has been shown to increase response rate (Dillman, 2000). Each survey instrument was stamped with a number corresponding to each front line employee. Although this method did not allow for anonymity (only confidentiality) it did allow for multiple contacts of non-respondents (Dillman, 2000). Ten days after the initial survey packet distribution, all participants were mailed a thank you postcard. This postcard thanked those who had already completed the survey instrument, and encourage non-respondents to do so. Two weeks after the postcard mailing a second survey packet was distributed to non-respondents. The packet contained another copy of the survey instrument, a stamped return envelop, and a new cover letter (Appendix G). This cover letter reiterated the importance of participation, and urged non-respondents to return the completed survey instrument. Two weeks following the second survey packet distribution, any remaining non-respondents were sent a final survey packet. This packet contained another copy of the survey instrument, a stamped return envelope, and a new

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93 cover letter (Appendix H). This procedure (including the variety of mailing methods) was shown by Dillman (2000) to improve overall response rates, and was termed the Tailored Design Method. Data Analysis Data analysis was conducted using the statistical computer software package SPSS. Simple linear regression was used to test the following hypotheses relating to job satisfaction, communication satisfaction, demographic factors, and relationship marketing orientation, and their respective relationship with customer orientation: H1:A1 Overall job satisfaction is related to customer orientation, with more satisfied employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N1 Overall job satisfaction is not related to customer orientation. H1:A2 Satisfaction with work is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with work reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N2 Satisfaction with work is not related to customer orientation. H1:A3 Satisfaction with supervision is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with their supervision reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N3 Satisfaction with supervision is not related to customer orientation. H1:A4 Satisfaction with promotion opportunities is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with promotion opportunities reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N4 Satisfaction with promotion is not related to customer orientation.

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94 H1:A5 Satisfaction with co-workers is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with co-workers reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N5 Satisfaction with co-workers is not related to customer orientation. H1:A6 Satisfaction with pay is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with pay reporting a higher customer orientation. H1:N6 Satisfaction with pay is not related to customer orientation. H2:A1 Overall communication satisfaction is related to customer orientation, with more satisfied employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N1 Overall communication satisfaction is not related to customer orientation. H2:A2 Satisfaction with the organization's communication climate is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with the organization's communication climate reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N2 Satisfaction with the organization's communication climate is not related to customer orientation. H2:A3 Satisfaction with supervisory communication is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with supervisory communication reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N3 Satisfaction with supervisory communication is not related to customer orientation. H2:A4 Satisfaction with communication concerning organizational integration is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with

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95 communication concerning organizational integration reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N4 Satisfaction with communication concerning organizational integration is not related to customer orientation. H2:A5 Satisfaction with the organization's media quality is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with the organization's media quality reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N5 Satisfaction with the organization's media quality is not related to customer orientation. H2:A6 Satisfaction with co-worker communication is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with co-worker communication reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N6 Satisfaction with co-worker communication is not related to customer orientation. H2:A7 Satisfaction with corporate information is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with corporate information reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N7 Satisfaction with corporate information is not related to customer orientation. H2:A8 Satisfaction with personal feedback is related to customer orientation, with employees more satisfied with personal feedback reporting a higher customer orientation. H2:N8 Satisfaction with personal feedback is not related to customer orientation.

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96 H3:A1 Age is related to customer orientation, with older employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N1 Age is not related to customer orientation. H3:A3 Overall length of employment with the current employer is related to customer orientation, with longer-term employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N3 Overall length of employment with the current employer is not related to customer orientation. H3:A4 Length of employment within the current job category with the current employer is related to customer orientation, with longer-term employees within their current job category reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N4 Length of employment within the current job category with the current employer is not related to customer orientation. H3:A6 Percentage of time spent in direct customer contact is related to customer orientation, with employees spending a higher percentage of time in direct customer contact reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N6 Percentage of time spent in direct customer contact is not related to customer orientation. H4:A1 Relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level is related to customer orientation, with those employees with a higher relationship marketing orientation reporting a higher customer orientation. H4:N1 Relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level is not related to customer orientation.

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97 An Independent Samples T-Test was used to test the following hypotheses relating to the type of employment and gender and customer orientation. H3:A2 Gender is related to customer orientation, with female employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N2 Gender is not related to customer orientation. H3:A5 Type of employment (full time vs. part time) is related to customer orientation, with full time employees reporting a higher customer orientation. H3:N5 Type of employment (full time vs. part time) is not related to customer orientation. Factor analysis with Varimax (orthogonal) rotation was used to make a preliminary analysis of relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level. Summary In this chapter, the hypotheses and research method used to guide this study were discussed. First the hypotheses representing the four objectives of this study were outlined. Next, the development of the survey instrument and the selection of the subjects used in this study were discussed. Finally, data collection and analysis procedures were outlined.

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CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS The purpose of this study was outlined in Chapter I. Chapter II presented a review of literature. Chapter III described the methods for data collection and analysis used in this study. This chapter presents the study findings. The respondent profile, reliability of the survey instrument, means and standard deviations on all measured variables, null hypotheses, and results will be discussed. Respondent Profile In this study, 417 initial surveys were distributed to front line employees of a medium sized theme park in the southeast United States. A proportion was distributed to individuals no longer employed with the subject park (n = 98) and a proportion could not be reached due to invalid addresses (n = 18). This left a usable population of 301 front line employees. From this population, a total of 146 usable responses were collected equaling a 48.50% response rate. Table 4-1 shows the demographic characteristics of respondents. The average age of respondents was 36.36 years old, with 45.10% between the ages of 16 and 24, 25.00% between 25 and 49, and 29.90% 50 or older. Respondents were 39.70% male and 60.30% female. They were evenly split between full time employment (49.30%) and part time employment (50.70%). On average, respondents had worked at the park under study for 18.90 months overall with an average of 16.95 months in their current department. Respondents spent on average 76.15% of their work time in direct customer contact. 98

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99 Table 4-1. Demographic Characteristics of Respondents Characteristic M SD Number Percent % Age (Years) 36.36 18.13 144 16-24 65 45.10 25-49 36 25.00 50 + 43 29.90 Gender 146 Male 58 39.70 Female 88 60.30 Job Category 146 Full Time 72 49.30 Part Time 74 50.70 Length of Employment 18.90 18.48 144 0 – 6 Months 52 36.10 7 – 12 Months 22 15.30 13 – 24 Months 29 20.10 > 24 Months 43 28.50 Length of Employment in Current Department 16.95 17.40 144 0 – 6 Months 58 40.30 7 – 12 Months 22 15.30 13 – 24 Months 31 21.50 > 24 Months 33 22.90 Work Time in Direct Customer Contact 76.15 33.15 144 0 – 25 % 24 16.70 26 – 50 % 9 6.20 51 – 75 % 14 9.70 > 75 % 97 63.40 Reliability of the Survey Instrument In order to examine the reliability of the scales used in this study, Cronbach’s alpha coefficients were calculated. Cronbach’s alpha indicates how well a set of variables measures a single latent construct. Cronbach’s alpha coefficients range from 0.0 to 1.0, and indicate the strength of relationship between items within a scale. Alpha coefficients

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100 near 1.0 means items are measuring similar dimensions of the construct. Scales used in this study were deemed reliable with an alpha coefficient .70 (Jeffreys, Massoni, & O'Donnell, 1997). Reliability coefficients for the scales used in this study are reported in Table 4-2. Job satisfaction was measured using the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) developed by Smith, Kendall, and Hulin (1969). Satisfaction with work on present job contains five items with a reliability coefficient equal to .80. Satisfaction with present pay contains five items with a reliability coefficient equal to .71. Satisfaction with opportunities for promotion has five items with a reliability coefficient equal to .83. Satisfaction with supervision contains five items with a reliability coefficient equal to .79. Satisfaction with people at work contains five items with a reliability coefficient equal to .78. Satisfaction with the job in general contains eight items with a reliability coefficient equal to .83. Communication satisfaction was measured using the Communication Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ) developed by Downs and Hazen (1977). Satisfaction with the organization’s communication climate has 5 items with a reliability coefficient equal to .90. Satisfaction with supervisory communication has 5 items with a reliability coefficient equal to .90. Satisfaction with communication concerning organizational integration has 5 items with a reliability coefficient equal to .82. Satisfaction with the organization’s media quality has 5 items with a reliability coefficient equal to .88. Satisfaction with co-worker communication has 5 items with a reliability coefficient equal to .87. Satisfaction with corporate information has 5 items with a reliability coefficient equal to .87. Satisfaction with personal feedback has 5 items with a reliability

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101 coefficient equal to .86. Overall communication satisfaction was measured using all 35 communication items with a reliability coefficient equal to .97. Customer orientation was measured using a shortened version of the Selling Orientation – Customer Orientation (SOCO) scale developed by Saxe and Weitz (1982). Customer orientation has five items with a reliability coefficient equal to .85. Relationship marketing orientation was measured using an exploratory scale developed in this study. The scale contains 15 items with a reliability coefficient equal to .91. Table 4-2. Reliability Coefficients of Scales used in the Study Variable Number of Items Reliability Coefficient Work on Present Job 5 .80 Present pay 5 .71 Opportunities for Promotion 5 .83 Supervision 5 .79 People at Work 5 .78 Job in General 8 .83 Organization’s Communication Climate 5 .90 Supervisory Communication 5 .90 Communication Concerning Organizational Integration 5 .82 Organization’s Media Quality 5 .88 Co-Worker Communication 5 .87 Corporate Information 5 .87 Personal Feedback 5 .86 Overall Communication Satisfaction 35 .97 Customer Orientation 5 .85 Relationship Marketing Orientation 15 .91 Means and Standard Deviations on Measured Variables Independent Variables Table 4-1 displays the means and standard deviations for the demographic variables measured in this study.

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102 Table 4-3 displays the means and standard deviations, and the skewness and kurtosis results for the six dimensions of job satisfaction, including satisfaction with the job in general. The statistical procedures used in this study assume a normal distribution of the variables for an accurate interpretation of the results. Visual examination for normality was made using histograms. A statistical check for normality was also made by analyzing the skewness and kurtosis statistics. Results within +/2.0 indicate that the data is not significantly shifted toward one tail or another (skewness) nor is it too peaked or too flat (kurtosis) (Baumgartner & Jackson, 1999; George & Mallery, 2001). For satisfaction with the job in general, a score equal to 24 indicates complete satisfaction. For all other dimensions, a score equal to 15 indicates complete satisfaction. Respondents were most satisfied with supervision (M = 10.02, SD = 4.77). Respondents were least satisfied with present pay (M = 4.80, SD = 4.09). Overall, respondents were moderately satisfied with their job in general (M = 14.47, SD = 7.00). Table 4-3. Means and Standard Deviations for Job Satisfaction Dimensions Dimension Number M SD Skewness Kurtosis Work on Present Job* 146 9.27 4.96 -.41 -1.02 Present Pay* 146 4.80 4.09 .93 .27 Opportunities for Promotion* 146 6.00 4.91 .55 -.88 Supervision* 146 10.02 4.77 -.49 -.94 People at Work* 146 9.57 4.54 -.32 -1.03 Job in General** 146 14.47 7.00 -.24 -.96 * A score equal to 15 indicates complete satisfaction ** A score equal to 24 indicates complete satisfaction Table 4-4 displays the means and standard deviations, and the skewness and kurtosis results for the seven dimensions of communication satisfaction, and overall communication satisfaction. For overall communication satisfaction, a score equal to 245 indicates complete satisfaction. For all other dimensions, a score equal to 35 indicates complete satisfaction. Respondents were most satisfied with supervisory communication

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103 (M = 24.70 , SD = 8.29). Respondents were least satisfied with corporate information (M = 17.12 , SD = 7.63) and personal feedback (M = 17.92, SD = 7.93). Overall, respondents were moderately satisfied with communication overall (M = 141.53, SD = 48.19). Table 4-4. Means and Standard Deviations for Communication Satisfaction Dimensions Dimension Number M SD Skewness Kurtosis Organization’s Communication Climate* 146 18.31 7.91 .10 -.72 Supervisory Communication* 146 24.70 8.29 -.75 -.28 Communication Concerning Organizational Integration* 146 20.76 7.31 -.27 -.29 Organization’s Media Quality* 146 21.23 7.82 -.37 -.62 Co-Worker Communication* 146 21.47 7.45 -.32 -.48 Corporate Information* 146 17.12 7.63 .41 -.41 Personal Feedback* 146 17.92 7.93 .17 -.69 Overall Communication Satisfaction** 146 141.53 48.19 -.20 -.33 A score equal to 35 indicates complete satisfaction ** A score equal to 245 indicates complete satisfaction Table 4-5 displays the frequencies, means, and standard deviations for all items measuring relationship marketing orientation. Because the data were kurtotic (skewness = -1.85, kurtosis = 5.02) an inverse transformation on the data prior to analysis was performed. Following the recommendation of Hutcheson and Sofroniou (1999) the data subtracted from a constant equal to the highest response, plus one (106) and then divided into one. Table 4-5 displays the means and standards deviations for all items measuring relationship marketing orientation, and for overall relationship marketing orientation. In addition, the skewness and kurtosis results for the transformed overall relationship marketing orientation are displayed. Respondents indicate level of agreement with each question on a 7 point Likert scale from, Disagree to Agree. For overall relationship marketing orientation, a score equal to 105 indicates complete satisfaction. Overall, respondents indicated a high relationship marketing orientation (M = 92.12, SD = 13.12).

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104 Table 4-5. Means and Standard Deviations for Relationship Marketing Orientation Item Number M SD I can communicate honestly with the customer 146 6.37 1.21 I value the customer’s opinion 146 6.18 1.33 The customer can trust me in the decisions I make 146 6.57 0.79 Retaining existing customers is equally as important as attracting new ones 146 6.55 0.99 I always strive to exceed customer expectations 146 6.21 1.22 Part of my responsibility is to promote my company to the customer 146 6.00 1.47 I deliver on the promises made to the customer made by my company 146 5.92 1.37 My company should have a reputation for building relationships with customers 146 6.33 1.21 It is important to have a working relationship with the customer today, and into the future 146 6.42 1.22 The customer can be confident that I will keep my promises 146 6.40 1.09 It is important that the customer trusts me 146 6.58 0.89 Customer input is important in my decision-making 146 6.03 1.36 I often recommend to management better ways to service the customer 146 5.04 1.86 Customer comment cards are a valuable tool for making management decisions 146 5.58 1.76 Quality service is more important than a low price 146 5.95 1.42 Overall Relationship Marketing Orientation*, ** 146 92.12 13.12 A score equal to 105 indicates complete agreement ** Skewness = 1.69, Kurtosis = 1.28 Dependent Variable Table 4-6 displays the means and standard deviations for the five items measuring customer orientation, and the means and standard deviations, and the skewness and kurtosis of overall customer orientation. Because the data were kurtotic (skewness = -1.67, kurtosis = -3.58), an inverse transformation of the data was conducted prior to analysis. Following the recommendations of Hutcheson & Sofroniou (1999) the data were subtracted from a constant equal to the highest response, plus one (46) and then divided into one. Respondents indicated the proportion of customers with whom they act as described on a 9 point Likert scale from Never to Always. For customer orientation, a

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105 score equal to 45 indicates complete customer orientation. The average customer orientation score was high (M = 38.50, SD = 6.76). The majority of respondents (68.22%) “always” or “almost always” acted with the best interest of the customer in mind. Table 4-6. Means and Standard Deviations for Customer Orientation Item Number M SD I try to figure out what the customer needs are 146 6.91 2.04 A good employee has to have the customer’s best interest in mind 146 8.21 1.32 I try to bring the customer with a problem together with a product / service that helps to solve that problem 146 7.88 1.78 I offer the product / service that is best suited to the customer’s problem 146 7.81 1.63 I try to find out what kind of product / services will be most helpful to a customer 146 7.71 1.68 Overall Customer Orientation*, ** 146 38.50 6.76 A score equal to 45 indicates a complete customer orientation ** Skewness = 1.30, Kurtosis = .31 Correlation Analysis Table 4-7 displays the correlations between customer orientation (DV) and all continuous independent variables. Table 4-7. Intercorrelations Between Customer Orientation (DV) and all Continuous Independent Variables Variable Customer Orientation Work on Present Job <-.01 Present Pay -.05 Opportunities for Promotion .09 Supervision -.04 People at Work .19* Job in General .06 Organization’s Communication Climate .14 Organizational Integration .10 Organization’s Media Quality .13 Co-Worker Communication .14 Corporate Information .09 Personal Feedback .13 Overall Communication Satisfaction .14

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106 Table 4-7. Continued Variable Customer Orientation Relationship Marketing Orientation .42** Age <.01 Length of Employment .02 Length of Employment in Current Department .03 *. p is significant at .05 **. p is significant at .01 Chi-Square Analysis Chi-square analysis was conducted between customer orientation (DV) and all categorical independent variables. With a 2 value = 33.02 (N = 146, df = 24) and a high significance (p = .10) and a Cramer’s V = .48, gender and customer orientation in this sample appear independent. Low cell count (41 of 50 expected values are < 5) is high (82%) as the percentage of low count cells > 25% may impact the validity of the overall chi-square value. With a 2 value = 22.16 (N = 146, df = 24) and a high significance (p = .57) and a Cramer’s V = .39, type of employment (full time v. part time) and customer orientation in this sample appear independent. Low cell count (43 of 50 expected values are < 5) is high (86%) as the percentage of low count cells > 25% may impact the validity of the overall chi-square value. Null Hypotheses Simple Linear Regression Simple linear regression is a general linear model designed to explain the relationship between a single continuous independent variable and a single continuous dependent variable. In this study, the method of least squares was used to fit the

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107 regression line (the simple linear regression equation is also known as the least squares regression equation) (Dallal, 2000). The method of least squares minimizes the sum of the squares of the residuals of the points of the data (difference between the observed values and fitted values in the equation). The regression equation is: Y = a + bX + e. Y is the dependent variable. a is a constant value (the value of Y when X = 0). b = the slope of the regression line (Beta), that is, how much Y changes for each one unit change in X. X represents the independent variable (customer orientation). e represents an error term (Abrams, 2005). Because the data for customer orientation (skewness = -1.67, kurtosis = -3.58) and relationship marketing orientation (skewness = -1.85, kurtosis = 5.02) were kurtotic, an inverse transformation on each was performed prior to analysis. Each variable was then checked again for normaility. Skewness and kurtosis values within +/2.0 are considered within the normal range (Baumgartner & Jackson, 1999; George & Mallery, 2001). Both customer orientation (skewness = 1.30, kurtosis = .33) and relationship marketing orientation (skewness = 1.69, kurtosis = 1.28) approximate a normal distribution. If data are non-normal, it is appropriate to transform them prior to analysis. Particularly if the data are arbitrary values (including Likert responses) transformation does not increase the difficulty of interpreting the results (Abrams, 2005). The following null hypotheses were tested in this study using simple linear regression analysis. H1:N1 Satisfaction with the job in general is not related to customer orientation. H1:N2 Satisfaction with work on present job is not related to customer orientation.

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108 H1:N3 Satisfaction with supervision is not related to customer orientation. H1:N4 Satisfaction with opportunities for promotion is not related to customer orientation. H1:N5 Satisfaction with people at work is not related to customer orientation. H1:N6 Satisfaction with present pay is not related to customer orientation. H2:N1 Overall communication satisfaction is not related to customer orientation. H2:N2 Satisfaction with the organization's communication climate is not related to customer orientation. H2:N3 Satisfaction with supervisory communication is not related to customer orientation. H2:N4 Satisfaction with communication concerning organizational integration is not related to customer orientation. H2:N5 Satisfaction with the organization's media quality is not related to customer orientation. H2:N6 Satisfaction with co-worker communication is not related to customer orientation. H2:N7 Satisfaction with corporate information is not related to customer orientation. H2:N8 Satisfaction with personal feedback is not related to customer orientation. H3:N1 Age is not related to customer orientation. H3:N3 Overall length of employment with the current employer is not related to customer orientation.

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109 H3:N4 Length of employment within the current job category with the current employer is not related to customer orientation. H3:N6 Percentage of time spent in direct customer contact is not related to customer orientation. H4:N1 Relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level is not related to customer orientation. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H1:N1. The researcher did not find a significant linear relationship between overall job satisfaction (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that higher overall job satisfaction (B < .01, p = .49) did not result in higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = .48, p = .49]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H1:N2. The researcher did not find a significant relationship between satisfaction with work on present job (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that satisfaction with work on present job (B < .01, p = .91) did not result in a higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = .01, p = .91]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H1: N3. The researcher did not find a significant relationship between satisfaction with supervision (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that satisfaction with supervision (B < -.01, p = .67) did not result in a higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = .18, p = .67]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H1: N4. The researcher did not find a significant relationship

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110 between satisfaction with opportunities for promotion (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that satisfaction with opportunities for promotion (B < .01, p = .26) did not result in a higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = 1.29, p = .26). Due to the statistical significance of the regression coefficient, hypothesis H1:N5 was rejected. The researcher found a significant linear relationship between satisfaction with people at work (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that higher satisfaction with people at work (B = .01, p = .02) resulted in higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = 5.22, p = .02]; with 3.5% of the variance in customer orientation explained by satisfaction with people at work. Table 4-8. Regression Analysis Summary for Satisfaction with People at Work Predicting Customer Orientation Variable B SEB People at Work .01 .01 .19* Note. R Square = .04 (n = 145, p = .02) * p = .02 Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H1:N6. The researcher did not find a significant relationship between satisfaction with present pay (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that satisfaction with present pay (B < -.01, p = .58) did not result in a higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = .32, p = .58]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H2:N1. The researcher did not find a significant linear relationship between overall communication satisfaction (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that higher overall communication satisfaction (B < .01, p = .10) did not result in higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = 2.76, p = .10].

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111 Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H2:N2. The researcher did not find a significant linear relationship between satisfaction with the organization’s communication climate (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that the higher the satisfaction with the organization’s communication climate (B < .01, p = .10) did not result in a higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = 2.83, p = .10]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H2:N3. The researcher did not find a significant linear relationship between satisfaction with supervisory communication (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that the higher the satisfaction with supervisory communication (B < .01, p = .13) did not result in a higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = 2.30, p = .13]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H2:N4. The researcher did not find a significant linear relationship between satisfaction with communication concerning organizational integration (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that the higher the satisfaction with communication concerning organizational integration (B < .01, p = .22) did not result in a higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = 1.50, p = .22]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H2:N5. The researcher did not find a significant linear relationship between satisfaction with the organization's media quality (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that the higher the satisfaction with the organization's

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112 media quality (B < .01, p = .13) did not result in a higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = 2.36, p = .13]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H2:N6. The researcher did not find a significant linear relationship between satisfaction with co-worker communication (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that the higher the satisfaction with co-worker communication (B < .01, p = .10) did not result in a higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = 2.77, p = .10]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H2:N7. The researcher did not find a significant linear relationship between satisfaction with corporate information (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that higher satisfaction with corporate information (B < .01, p = .28) did not result in higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = 1.19, p = .28]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H2:N8. The researcher did not find a significant linear relationship between satisfaction with personal feedback (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that the higher the satisfaction with personal feedback (B < .01, p = .12) did not result in a higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = 2.45, p = .12]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H3:N1. The researcher did not find a significant relationship between age (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that older employees (B < .01, p = .96) did not hold a higher customer orientation [F (1,142) < .01, p = .96).

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113 Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H3:N3. The researcher did not find a significant relationship between overall length of employment (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that longer tenure overall (B < .01, p = .79) did not result in higher customer orientation [F (1,142) = .07, p = .79]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H3: N4. The researcher did not find a significant relationship between length of employment in current department (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that longer tenure within the current department (B < .01, p = .76) did not result in higher customer orientation [F (1,142) = .10, p = .76]. Due to the statistical insignificance of the regression coefficient, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H3:N6. The researcher did not find a significant relationship between percentage of time spent in direct customer contact (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that a higher percentage of time spent in direct customer contact (B < .01, p = .08) did not result in higher customer orientation [F (1,142) = 3.03, p = .08]. Due to the statistical significance of the regression coefficient, hypothesis H4:N1 was rejected. The researcher found a significant linear relationship between relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level (IV) and customer orientation (DV). Results indicated that the higher relationship marketing orientation (B = .41 p < .01) resulted in higher customer orientation [F (1,144) = 30.02, p < .01]; with 17.3% of the variance in customer orientation explained by relationship marketing orientation.

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114 Table 4-9. Regression Analysis Summary for Relationship Marketing Orientation Predicting Customer Orientation Variable B SEB Relationship Marketing Orientation .41 .07 .42* Note. R Square = .17 (n = 145, p < .01) * p < .01 Table 4-10. Regression Analysis Summary Predicting Customer Orientation Variable B SEB Job in General < .01 <. 01 < .01 Work on Present Job < .01 < .01 < .01 Supervision < .01 < .01 .04 Opportunities for Promotion < .01 < .01 .09 People at Work .01 .01 .19* Present Pay < .01 < .01 -.05 Overall Communication Satisfaction < .01 < .01 .14 Organization’s Communication Climate < .01 < .01 .14 Supervisory Communication < .01 < .01 .13 Organizational Integration < .01 < .01 .10 Organization’s Media Quality < .01 < .01 .13 Co-Worker Communication < .01 < .01 .14 Corporate Information < .01 < .01 .09 Personal Feedback < .01 < .01 .13 Age < .01 < .01 < .01 Length of Employment < .01 < .01 .02 Length of Employment in Current Department < .01 < .01 .03 Percentage of Time Spent in Direct Customer Contact < .01 < .01 .15 Relationship Marketing Orientation .41 .07 .42** * p < .05 ** p < .01 Independent Samples T-Test A T-Test for Independent Samples is designed to compare the means of two sample distributions in order to determine if they differ significantly from each other on the variable of interest. The two samples share a variable of interest (in this study, customer orientation) but there is no overlap between membership of the two groups.

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115 The following null hypotheses were tested in this study using T-Test for Independent Samples analysis. H3:N2 Gender is not related to customer orientation. H3:N5 Type of employment (full time vs. part time) is not related to customer orientation. Due to the statistical insignificance of the T statistic, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H3:N3. The researcher found that men (M = 37.45, SD = 7.24) and women (M = 39.20, SD = 6.37) did not have a significantly different customer orientation [t (144) = -1.39, p = .17). Due to the statistical insignificance of the T statistic, the researcher failed to reject hypothesis H3:N5. The researcher found that full time employees (M = 39.49, SD = 5.49) and part time employees (M = 37.55, SD = 7.72) did not have a significantly different customer orientation [t (144) = .49, p = .61). Factor Analysis Factor analysis is designed to study the pattern of relationships between a number of dependent variables, and how the nature of (as of yet unknown) factors may affect them (Darlington, 2005). There are two approaches to factor analysis: exploratory and confirmatory. Because relationship marketing orientation, in this study, is designed as an exploratory measure, exploratory factor analysis was used. DeVellis (2003) identified three purposes of exploratory factor analysis in scale development. The first purpose is, to determine how many dimensions account for most of the variance in the scale. Second is to allow researchers to condense a scale, using a few items to represent the construct. Finally, exploratory factor analysis helps researchers to define the meaning of factors that characterize a group of items.

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116 Exploratory factor analysis assumes that the number of underlying factors is less than the number of overall items. In addition, because exploratory factor analysis is applied to a correlation matrix (as opposed to raw data), assumptions relevant to Pearson’s correlation coefficient are relevant to exploratory factor analysis. Correlation assumptions include a large sample size (in this study, n = 146), and variables measured on an interval scale (Pett, Lackey, & Sullivan, 2003). Exploratory principal components factor analysis was used in this study to identify the factor structure for the 15 items designed to measure relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level. In this study, the factor structures were rotated using Varimax (orthogonal) rotation. The goal of rotation is a simple structure. That is, high loadings on one factor and low loadings on all others. Orthogonal rotation ensures that the factors remain unrelated, by not allowing the axis’ that are rotated to move beyond perpendicular to each other (George & Mallery, 2001). Rotation allows for a clearer interpretation of the results. Jeffreys, Massoni, & O'Donnell (1997) identified Varimax rotation as the best way to determine the appropriate number of common factors by analyzing the eigenvalues and the adjusted correlation matrix. As suggested by Hair, Anderson, Tatham, & Black (2004) factors with eigenvalues greater than 1.0 were considered for further analysis. Kaiser (1960) was the first to recommend this procedure for factor inclusion. In addition, as first proposed by Cattell (1966), a scree plot of eigenvalues was analyzed in order to arrive at a final number of factors (Figure 4-1). Following the recommendation of Hair, Anderson, Tatham, & Black (2004), items with a factor loading of .40 or greater were kept. Items that double loaded (loaded on 2 or more factors at .40 or greater) were dropped from the factor(s) in which it

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117 loaded least, and kept on the factor in which it loaded highest. Reliability testing was conducted for each factor. Any item that reduced the reliability of the factor was removed (Chen & Kerstetter, 1999). Factors with a Cronbach’s alpha .50 or greater were considered acceptable (Baumgartner & Jackson, 1999). Jeffreys, Massoni, & O'Donnell (1997), recommend the use of the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) statistic as a check for the appropriateness of exploratory factor analysis as a method of analysis for the items in question. KMO compares the magnitude of the observed correlation matrix to the magnitude of the partial correlation coefficients. A small KMO (< .5) suggests that exploratory factor analysis may not be a suitable approach (Hair, Anderson, Tatham, & Black, 2004). In this study, the KMO was equal to .888 indicating that exploratory factor analysis was an appropriate method of inquiry. The exploratory factor analysis identified three factors, which accounted for 64.60% of the total variance. Eleven of the fifteen items used to measure relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level loaded on one of the three factors (Table 4-11). The three items that were not included in any factor were, “Retaining existing customers is equally as important as attracting new ones”, “I deliver on the promises made to the customer made by my company”, and “Customer input is important in my decision-making”. Item, “Retaining existing customers is equally as important as attracting new ones” was dropped because it double loaded on factor 1 – trust and factor 2 – employee responsibility (.57 and .51 respectively). Initially it was included in factor 1, but was dropped from further analysis when it caused the reliability of factor one to drop from .868 to .866 when included. Item, “I value the customer’s opinion” was dropped because it double loaded on factor 1 – trust, factor 2 – employee responsibility,

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118 and factor 3 – communication (.56, .46 and .46 respectively). Items, “I deliver on the promises made to the customer made by my company”, and “Customer input is important in my decision-making” were dropped because they loaded evenly across all three factors (.45, .47, .44 and .24, .53, .54 respectively). Component Number15141312111098765432186420 Figure 4-1. Scree Plot of Relationship Marketing Orientation Items Table 4-11. Factor Analysis Results of Relationship Marketing Orientation Items Item Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3 Factor 1 Trust It is important to have a working relationship with the customer today, and into the future .80 .27 .14 The customer can be confident that I will keep my promises .78 .14 .46 It is important that the customer trusts me .77 .11 .41

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119 Table 4-11. Continued Item Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3 Factor 2 Employee Responsibility The customer can trust me in the decisions I make .38 .49 .31 I always strive to exceed customer expectations .28 .82 .10 Part of my responsibility is to promote my company to the customer .32 .63 .32 My company should have a reputation for building relationships with customers .52 .60 .13 I often recommend to management better ways to service the customer -.06 .75 .30 Factor 3 Communication I can communicate honestly with the customer .27 .22 .62 Customer comment cards are a valuable tool for making management decisions .03 .26 .74 Quality service is more important than a low price .36 .04 .66 Retaining existing customers is equally as important as attracting new ones* I deliver on the promises made to the customer made by my company* Customer input is important in my decision-making* Eigenvalue 7.37 1.25 1.07 Cronbach alpha .87 .80 .64 Factor Mean 25.57 30.15 17.90 % Variance Explained 49.15 8.31 7.15 Cumulative % Variance Explained 49.15 57.55 64.60 * Item dropped Factor 1 – Trust Based on the items that loaded on factor one, it was termed “trust”. The items that loaded on factor one included, “It is important to have a working relationship with the customer today, and into the future” (.80), “The customer can be confident that I will keep my promises” (.78), and “It is important that the customer trusts me” (.77). Factor one had an eigenvalue equal to 7.37 and accounted for 49.15% of the total variance.

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120 Factor 2 – Employee Responsibility Based on the items that loaded on factor two, it was termed “employee responsibility”. The items that loaded on factor two included, “The customer can trust me in the decisions I make” (.49), “I always strive to exceed customer expectations” (.82), “Part of my responsibility is to promote my company to the customer” (.63), “My company should have a reputation for building relationships with the customer” (.60), and “I often recommend to management better ways to service the customer” (.75). Factor two had an eigenvalue equal to 1.25 and accounted for 8.31% of the variance. Factor 3 – Communication Based on the items that loaded on factor three, it was termed “communication”. The items that loaded on factor three included, “I can communicate honestly with the customer” (.62), “Customer comment cards are a valuable tool for making management decisions” (.74), and “Quality service is more important than a low price” (.66). Factor three had an eigenvalue equal to 1.07 and accounted for 7.15% of the total variance. Summary This chapter investigated the hypotheses related to the objectives of this study outline in Chapter I. The major findings of the study are presented in Table 4-12. Table 4-12. Major Findings of This Study Objective Findings The first objective of this study was to determine the relationship between job satisfaction and customer orientation among front line employees in a theme park setting. Satisfaction with people at work was shown to be related to customer orientation. Those employees who reported being more satisfied with co-workers, reported a higher customer orientation score.

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121 Table 4-12. Continued Objective Findings All other dimensions of job satisfaction (including satisfaction with the job in general, satisfaction with work on present job, satisfaction with supervision, satisfaction with opportunities for promotion, and satisfaction with present pay) did not have an effect on employee’s reported level of customer orientation. The second objective of this study was to determine the relationship between communication satisfaction and customer orientation among front line employees in a theme park setting. All dimensions of communication satisfaction (including overall communication satisfaction, organization’s communication climate, supervisory communication, organizational integration, media quality, co-worker communication, corporate information, and personal feedback) did not have an affect on customer orientation. The next objective of this study was to determine the relationship between various demographic (age, gender) and work (overall length of employment, overall length of employment within the current job category, full time vs. part time employment, percentage of time spent in direct customer contact) characteristics and customer orientation among front line employees in a theme park setting. No differences were found between any of the demographic or work variables, and customer orientation.

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122 Table 4-12. Continued Q T a The last objective of this study was twofold. First this study made a preliminary investigation into the measurement of relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level. Second, this study aimed to determine whether relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level is associated with customer orientation. Results showed that measuring relationship marketing orientation at the individual level as measured in this study was valid. In addition, it was shown that as measured, relationship marketing orientation at the individual level can be represented by three smaller dimensions. Finally, relationship marketing orientation at the individual level is related to customer orientation. Employees who reported a higher relationship marketing orientation also reported a higher customer orientation.

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CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Introduction Front line employees are critically important to organizations in general, but even more critical to service organizations. Advancements in technology have allowed organizations to service customers on a more intimate level, including the implementation of relationship marketing orientation policies and procedures. At the same time, employee job satisfaction and customer orientation have become more important. As access to the latest technology has become available to more organizations, the personal interaction between front line employees and the organization’s customers has become more critical to differentiating organizations and (ultimately) providing a sustainable competitive advantage (Schlesinger & Heskett, 1991). The purpose of this study was outlined in Chapter I. Chapter II presented a review of relevant literature relating to job satisfaction, communication satisfaction, customer orientation, and relationship marketing orientation. Chapter III described the methods for data collection and analysis used in this study. In Chapter IV the results of this study were presented. This chapter provides a discussion of the relevant findings. The objectives of this study are presented, major findings will be discussed, and managerial implications will be outlined. Finally, limitations of this study and recommendations for future research will be presented. Maximizing front line employee customer orientation is critically important. The interaction between front line employees and the customer (the service encounter) has 123

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124 become central in the customer’s evaluation of the organization as a whole (Zeithaml, Berry, & Parasuraman, 1988). Customers make quality evaluations relating to the relationship between themselves and front line employees. Quality evaluations have two dimensions. Technical quality evaluations refer to the outcome of the relationship (how satisfying is the physical working environment). Functional quality refers to the process (attitudes of both the organization in general and immediate personnel in particular); (Lewis & Clacher, 2001). Hennig-Thurau and Klee (1997) define relationship quality as “ . . . the degree of appropriateness of a relationship to fulfill the needs of the customer associated with that relationship” (p. 751). Front line employee actions impact customer relationship satisfaction. Colgate and Alexander (1998) found that customers who perceived the service provider as having a strong customer retention orientation were more satisfied with, and more committed to the relationship. A customer oriented corporate culture is designed to foster long term customer satisfaction (Howe, Hoffman, & Hardigree, 1994). Because an organization’s corporate culture cannot be easily copied by the competition, it represents a sustainable competitive advantage (Parasuraman, 1987). Customer oriented employee behavior leads to long term satisfaction with an emphasis on long term results (Dunlap, Dotson, & Chambers, 1988). Retaining customers is critically important to organizational success. However, Payne and Frow (1999) found that less than 25% of a typical organization’s marketing budget is spent on customer retention. In addition, they found that even though the majority of organizations understand the importance of customer retention, few measure the economic value of retention strategies. Because marketing strategies aimed at customer retention can be expensive, organizations should concentrate efforts on only

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125 the most profitable strategies. Organizational monitoring and measurement should be engaged in regularly to ensure the most efficient use of resources. An organization that has an entire workforce of “part time marketers” will be in a strong position to form long term relationships with external customers. It was shown in this study that the relationship marketing orientation of individual front line employees could be measured. This study showed that the customer orientation of front line employees is impacted by an employee’s relationship marketing orientation. In addition, this study showed that the customer orientation of front line employees is impacted by the satisfaction felt between front line employees and their co-workers. Study Objectives and Major Findings Objective 1 The first objective of this study was to determine the relationship between job satisfaction and customer orientation among front line employees in a theme park setting. In this study, no relationship was found between overall job satisfaction and customer orientation, or between satisfaction with supervisors and customer orientation. The literature is inconsistent with regard to the nature of these relationships (between overall organizational satisfaction and customer orientation, and between supervisor satisfaction and customer orientation). Jones, Busch, and Dacin (2003) found that front line employee’s perceptions of the organization’s market orientation positively impacts job satisfaction and organizational commitment. However, they also showed that employee customer orientation is not impacted by their immediate supervisor market orientation. Jones, Busch, and Dacin (2003) suggested that a perception of the organization’s market orientation represented support for employee efforts to meet customer needs, but that immediate supervisor orientation did not infer the same support.

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126 In this study, job satisfaction overall (including satisfaction with the organization as a unit) was not shown to be related to customer orientation. These results are consistent with what Jones, Busch, and Dacin (2003) found. Although satisfied with immediate supervisor actions, employees in this study were very dissatisfied with organizational dimensions (including pay and opportunities for promotion). These dimensions may be perceived by employees in this study to be out of the control of their immediate supervisors. The results found in this study may be reflecting this inconsistent relationship felt by employees. In this study, front line employees reported low levels of overall job satisfaction. At the same time, they reported high levels of customer orientation. This finding implies that front line employees are getting their satisfaction from their relationship with the customer and not from the relationship they have with the organization. The results of this study also showed no relationship between employee satisfaction with their immediate supervisors and customer orientation. Respondents in this study did report a general satisfaction with supervision, but level of satisfaction with supervision did not impact front line employee customer orientation. This finding implies that the immediate supervisor / front line employee relationship is not nearly as important as the relationship between front line employees and their customers. This finding extends the finding that overall job satisfaction (including satisfaction with the organization in general) is not related to customer orientation. Satisfaction with immediate supervision represents a much closer relationship than the more abstract relationship between the organization and the front line employee.

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127 A significant relationship was found in this study between employee satisfaction with their co-workers and customer orientation. Leavitt (1996) and Savery (1996) showed that some employees are motivated as much by intrinsic rewards (including working conditions) as extrinsic rewards (pay and benefits). Co-workers contribute greatly to working conditions. The results of this study imply that employees who enjoy the company of their co-workers (i.e., can trust and relate to them) are in a better position to concentrate their efforts on external customers (increased customer orientation). This is consistent with Agho, Mueller, and Price (1993) who found that working with friendly people increased job satisfaction. On the one hand employees are satisfied by supervisor actions but not satisfied with the organization in general. This may partially explain why the one dimension of job satisfaction that was found to be associated with customer orientation (satisfaction with co-workers) is outside the control of both immediate supervisors and the organization. Bettencourt (1997) found that when the effects of fairness perceptions are controlled for, there was no relationship between job satisfaction and prosocial employee behavior. This finding is consistent with the lack of a relationship shown between satisfaction with supervision and front line employee customer orientation. This finding implies an “us v. them” mentality among front line employees in this study. Satisfaction with the overall job and satisfaction with immediate supervision did not impact front line employee orientation and represents “them”. Satisfaction with co-workers and the implication that front line employees are getting satisfaction from their interaction with customers did impact front line employee customer orientation and represents “us”. This further implies that front line employees who share some, (as of yet identified)

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128 intangibles (what is termed homogeneity of service providers) will be more satisfied with each other. Other dimensions of job satisfaction were not shown to be related to customer orientation in this study. This apparent inconsistency (satisfaction with co-workers impacting customer orientation but other dimensions of job satisfaction showing no relationship) can be explained in part by the findings of other job satisfaction research. Koys (2001) showed only a weak association between individual job satisfaction and organizational effectiveness. A much stronger association was found between a unit level measure of employee satisfaction and organizational effectiveness. Ryan, Schmit and Johnson (1996) explained this in part by making the argument that a unit level performance is not simply a sum of individual employee satisfaction. Other things may impact unit effectiveness, including shared values. The authors suggest that if an environment of cooperation is fostered, unit level productivity may increase. The results of this study suggest that even when other areas of job satisfaction have no impact on customer orientation, satisfaction with co-workers impacting customer orientation may be due to the same operating environment characteristics (shared value, cooperation) that impact unit levels of productivity. Objective 2 The second objective of this study was to determine the relationship between communication satisfaction and customer orientation among front line employees in a theme park setting. In this study, no relationship was found between communication satisfaction of front line employees and customer orientation. The findings in this study are contrary to the findings of Condut and Movando (2001) who found a positive association between

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129 internal communication and customer orientation. In the Conduit and Movando (2001) study, however, they explored the relationship between communication satisfaction and customer orientation only as they relate to internal customers (employees). In this study, the focus was on the communication satisfaction of front line employees and customer orientation as it relates to the external customer. In addition, the Conduit and Movando (2001) study was set within an organization that practiced extensive international marketing. This study was limited to a medium size theme park with a regional reach. The fact that all but one dimension of job satisfaction in this study also did not show a relationship with customer orientation is consistent with these findings. Research has shown a high positive correlation between communication satisfaction and job satisfaction (Pettit, Goris, Vaught 1997). Pincus (1986) showed a relationship between communication satisfaction and job satisfaction, but identified the relationship between organizational communication and job performance to be a much stronger association. In addition, they found that the communication satisfaction with the immediate supervisor to be a separate relationship and substantially related to both job satisfaction and job performance. Low employee communication satisfaction may result in increased absenteeism and higher employee turnover (Hargie, Tourish and Wilson 2002). Clampitt and Downs (1993) found that employee communication satisfaction was related to productivity. Results of this study found that no dimension of job satisfaction (including overall job satisfaction, satisfaction with immediate supervisors, or satisfaction with co-worker communication) impacted front line employee customer orientation. These findings

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130 imply that it doesn’t matter who within the organization delivers information to front line employees, or in what form. Objective 3 The third objective of this study was to determine the relationship between various demographic (age, gender) and work (overall length of employment, overall length of employment within the current job category, full time v. part time employment, percentage of time spent in direct customer contact) characteristics and customer orientation among front line employees in a theme park setting. In this study, no relationship was found between demographic characteristics or work characteristics and the customer orientation of front line employees. This result is consistent with the results found by Howe, Hoffman, & Hardigree (1994) in a study set in the insurance industry, and Widmier (2002). Length of employment (including overall, or within their current position) was not found to be related to customer orientation in this study. Michaels & Day (1985) found a negative association between length of employment and customer orientation. Those employed longer with the organization may be more resistant to change to a customer orientation. The Michaels & Day (1985) study, however, focused on industrial salespersons and results may have been impacted by validity based on history (environmental changes within the oil industry at the time the study was conducted (including layoffs and salary restrictions) may have impacted the results). These findings imply that homogeneity of service providers is not defined by a readily identifiable demographic or work characteristic.

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131 Objective 4 A fourth objective of this study was to make a preliminary investigation into the measurement of relationship marketing orientation at the individual level. In addition, this study aimed to determine if a relationship between relationship marketing orientation at the individual level and customer orientation exists. Relationship Marketing Orientation at the Individual Front Line Employee Level This study showed that relationship marketing orientation can be measured at the individual front line employee level. Although previous research had only attempted to measure relationship marketing orientation at the organizational level, there is support for the results found in this study. Gronroos (2000) stated that a single encounter between an organization and the external customer has elements upon which relationships can be built. Colgate and Alexander (1998) agree, stating that a single encounter can be defined as a relationship. The majority of encounters the external customer has with an organization (particularly early encounters) involve front line employees. Morgan and Hunt (1994) broaden the relationship marketing orientation definition to include “ . . . all marketing activities directed toward establishing, developing, and maintaining successful relational exchanges” (p. 22). Front line employees encompass three of the four dimensions for a successful relationship marketing orientation outlined by Pressey and Mathews (2000). Front line employees have high levels of contact with the external customer, they are in a mutually powerful position with the external customer (they both benefit from a continued relationship) and front line employees are in a position to offer advice and to handle complaints. Pressey and Mathews (2000) state that these dimensions

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132 (delivered by front line employees) are critically important to how successful the organization as a whole develops a relationship with external customers. In this study, three factors were shown to represent relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level, labeled; “trust”, “employee responsibility”, and “communication”. The first factor (trust) is very similar to the “trust” dimension identified by Sin et al. (2005). This factor represented by items that encompass customer opinion, and stresses a long term relationship between front line employees and the external customer. In addition, two questions encompass the dimensions of trust and promise keeping. Trust is defined by Callaghan, McPhail, and Yau (1995) as the extent to which parties in the relationship can rely on the integrity of the promises made by those in the relationship. Morgan & Hunt (1994) also identified trust as a dimension of relationship marketing. Too, Souchon, and Thirkell (2001) found that external customer perceptions of relationship marketing efforts by the organization are more important in increasing customer loyalty than actual efforts. They found that both customer trust and loyalty in the organization are positively related to customer perceptions of organizational relationship marketing efforts. Organizations (including front line employees) should communicate relationship marketing efforts engaged in on behalf of customers. Organizations, however, should proceed with caution. Customers today have grown weary of promises and self acclaim made by organizations. Organizations should ensure that the relationship marketing orientation policies and procedures outlined are actually carried out. The findings by Too, Souchon, and Thirkell (2001) suggest that smaller organizations may be in a better position to build loyalty through relationship marketing

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133 efforts v. larger organizations who may rely on more traditional forms of advertising. This is good news for smaller organizations who may feel they cannot compete with the large market budgets of larger competitors. The second factor identified in this study of relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level was titled “employee responsibility”. This dimension is similar to the “empathy” dimension identified by Sin et al. (2005) in their scale designed to measure relationship marketing orientation at the organizational level. Employee responsibility is characterized by the employee’s responsibility to suggest to management ways to improve service. In addition, employees are asked to promote the company to the customer, and to continually push the company to be one based on relationship building. The empathy dimension has been shown to be a necessary component of successful salespeople. Berry and Parasuraman (1991) identified empathy as an important dimension of the service quality measure, SERVQUAL. The final dimension identified in this study of relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level was termed “communication”. This dimension is characterized by communication between the front line employee and the customer. One question relates to the importance of customer comment cards for decision making, and another question asks about honest employee communication directly. This dimension is very much like the “communication” dimension identified by Sin et al. (2005). Communication is characterized by both formal and informal dimensions. Morgan and Hunt (1994) found that communication has an indirect influence on the relationship between retailer and supplier in the automobile tire industry.

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134 Relationship Marketing Orientation at the Individual Front Line Employee Level and Customer Orientation This study found that individual employees’ relationship marketing orientation is related to customer orientation. Jones, Busch, and Dacin (2003) found that front line employee’s customer orientation was positively related to external customer’s propensity to leave. Saxe and Weitz (1982) showed that customer orientation was related to sales performance. Organizations that foster employee relationship marketing orientation not only increase employee customer orientation, but also increase external customer satisfaction and loyalty. Previous research has shown that customer’s perceptions of an organization’s commitment to a continued relationship impacts customer loyalty. The findings of this study imply that it is the relationship with front line employees whom external customers are basing their judgments (about an organization’s commit to the relationship) on. Further, the findings in this study imply that organizational support of front line employees may be more important than previously thought, and support anecdotal evidence that organizations should focus more on their relationship with front line employees than on their relationship with customers. Managerial Implications Homogeneity of Service Providers Organizations should recruit front line employees with similar backgrounds. Results in this study showed that satisfaction with co-workers impacted customer orientation. Results also showed, however, that satisfaction with co-worker communication did not impact front line employee customer orientation, nor did demographic or work characteristics. Therefore, homogeneity of service workers is not

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135 defined by an easily identified characteristic. Management should find some way to determine if new hires (or potential interdepartmental transfers) will interact well with current employees. One recommendation would be to lay out organizational philosophies (including policies and procedures) to potential employees before hire. Disney Corporation uses this method of “self selection” with great success. In this study, employees reported relatively high satisfaction on both job and communication satisfaction dimensions as they relate to direct supervisors. However, employees were dissatisfied with job and communication satisfaction dimensions relating to the organization as a whole. This relationship between the organization and the front line employee is critically important. Barnes and Morris (2000) showed that organizations that focus on the needs of front line employees are in a better position to satisfy the external customer. Organizations can improve the quality of staff performance through employee training. Ballantyne, Christopher, and Payne (1995) caution that technical skill training is not enough; employees must receive an education. In the context of this study, organizations should increase employee knowledge in relation to the organization’s relationship marketing philosophy. Organizations that make service quality a priority, and reinforce their message through staff training and orientation are more likely to have that message enhanced by front line employees (Schneider & Bowen, 1995). Barnes and Morris (2000) found that the higher the level of employee satisfaction, the greater the chance for external customer satisfaction. Internal marketing aims to increase customer orientation (Gronroos, 1990a). Training and recruitment of front line employees must be done with the expectation that every employee be considered a part

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136 time marketer for the organization. To this end, Gronroos (1990) recommends organizational strategies for “ . . . attracting, keeping and motivating customer oriented personnel” (p. 162). This sentiment is echoed by Berry and Parasuraman (1992) who include attracting, motivating and retaining qualified employees in their definition of internal marketing. They argue that organizations should resist the temptation to lower hiring standards in a tight labor market. This is even more important as the results of this study identified a relationship between relationship marketing orientation and customer orientation. Other researchers broaden the definition of internal marketing to include all activities that foster a high quality relationship between employees and the organization (Barnes & Morris, 2000). Organizational Communication Pincus (1986) found that employee perceptions of organizational communication is related to job satisfaction and job performance, although the association between communication satisfaction and job performance was relatively weak. Pincus (1986) also found that supervisory communication was a major determinant of employee job satisfaction. Top management communication was found to be separate from immediate supervisor communication, and independently related to job satisfaction and job performance. This separate relationship may require distinct strategies. The authors recommend dual strategies for communication. One set of strategies for those in supervisory positions and another set for front line employees. This study was limited to front line employees. The inconsistent relationships shown between employees and immediate supervisors and between employees and the organization as a whole may be impacting the results. Both dimensions of communication satisfaction (supervisory and organizational) were measured at the same time using a single survey instrument. Further

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137 research measuring supervisory or organizational dimensions alone and their relationship to customer orientation is recommended. Regular communication audits are a valuable tool for monitoring the effectiveness of management initiatives (Downs & Adrian, 1997; Hargie, Tourish, & Wilson, 2002). Pettit, Goris, and Vaught (1997) found that organizational communication satisfaction was found to be a predictor of job satisfaction. However, organizational communication satisfaction was only a weak moderator between job satisfaction and job performance. There was a difference between this study and the study by Pettit, Goris, and Vaught (1997). This study used the Communication Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ) developed by Downs and Hazen (1977) to measure communication satisfaction. The Pettit, Goris, and Vaught (1997) study used a measure of communication satisfaction developed by Roberts and O’Reilly (1974). The authors recommended that future research testing the moderating effect of organizational communication satisfaction use a different measure (including the CSQ). Employees communicate with co-workers to satisfy different needs than those satisfied through communication with supervisors (Anderson & Martin, 1995). Employees communicate with co-workers for closeness and intimacy which relates to job happiness and commitment. Future research should investigate exactly how, and in what form, co-worker communication satisfies these needs. In this study, no relationship was found between communication satisfaction and the customer orientation of front line employees. These results imply that it doesn’t matter who within the organization delivers corporate information or in what form. Organizations can save valuable resources by producing corporate information in the

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138 most cost effective manner. Glossy corporate reports, information on video or DVD, or information delivered by ownership or a hired spokesperson has no impact on front line employees’ customer orientation. Organizations can be assured that information delivered by middle managers (or any other employee) on basic print stock will not adversely affect how customer oriented front line employees are. This does not imply, however, that corporate communication is without value. In order to successfully implement the steps necessary for internal marketing, organizations should have an adequate communication process in place (Compton, George, Gronroos, & Karvinen, 1987). In this study, employees reported low communication satisfaction as it relates to organizational dimensions. Before any internal marketing program can be implemented, the organization should improve communication with employees. This study was a necessary first step (identification of the problem). Gilbert (2000) found that managers overestimated the level of internal service quality being received by subordinates. Without a formal structure for monitoring, management may think subordinates are receiving everything they need for optimal productivity when they may not be. Front line employees may be performing at a sub optimal level and, therefore, not delivering the level of service quality to external customers they may be capable of. In addition, regular communication audits and employee training should be implemented. For new hires, Berry and and Parasuraman (1992) suggest developing employee profiles for individual positions and interviewing multiple candidates for each position. In addition, to attract and maintain the best employees, organizations striving for an internal marketing focus should pay higher wages. In this study, employees reported being very dissatisfied with present pay. Gremler and Bitner (1994) found that

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139 organizational behaviors that satisfy the internal customer are the same that impact external customers. Conversely, Wagenheim and Reurink (1991) state that management procedures designed to satisfy the external customer will result in increased organizational motivation and morale. According to Rust, Stewart, Miller, and Pielack (1996) changing management focus to an “employee as customer” orientation is a critically important first step in understanding employee satisfaction and improving employee work attitudes. Specific drivers of satisfaction in one situation may not necessarily hold true in other situations. They recommend starting with qualitative research approaches to allow the results obtained to dictate future quantitative procedures, rather than starting with management assumptions (for example: that pay is the most important issue in employee retention – which may or may not be true in a particular circumstance). Job Satisfaction In this study no relationship was found between overall job satisfaction, or satisfaction with supervisors and front line employee customer orientation. However, satisfaction with co-workers was found to impact customer orientation. Thakor and Joshi (2005) found that employee perceptions of the meaningfulness of their job positively impacts customer orientation. Satisfaction with pay acts as a moderating variable and enhances the impact of this relationship (although satisfaction with pay alone did not show a significant relationship). Managers should develop systems to ensure employees find the work they do to be meaningful. Thackor and Joshi (2005) recommend that managers provide more variety in employee work (including job rotation). If job rotation is not possible (those in positions that require specialized knowledge as an example), Thackor and Joshi (2005) found that increasing

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140 organizational identification is also effective. Managers can foster organizational identification among front line employees through considerate leader behavior, and through regular and constructive feedback. Stock and Hoyer (2005) found that customer oriented attitudes are distinct from customer oriented behavior. Even though customer oriented behavior provides a stronger impact on customer satisfaction, both customer oriented behavior and customer oriented attitudes impact customer satisfaction directly. This is important, as it shows that customers are attune to employee “vibes” and that they impact satisfaction. Focusing only on actual behaviors is not enough. Management should also be concerned with employee attitudes. Hartline, Maxham, and McKee (2000) showed that customer oriented attitudes can be influenced by supervisors’ leadership style. The results of this study suggest that even when other areas of job satisfaction have no impact on customer orientation, satisfaction with co-workers impacting customer orientation may be due to the same operating environment characteristics (shared value, cooperation) that impact unit levels of productivity. Harris, Mowen and Brown (2005) found that customer orientation was related to job satisfaction. They found that employees holding a customer orientation (as opposed to a selling orientation) reported higher levels of job satisfaction. Beyond the scope of this study was the impact employee fairness perceptions have on job satisfaction and the delivery of quality service. Bettencourt & Brown (1997) found that employee fairness perceptions were antecedent to the delivery of quality service. They were able to show that perceptions of fairness were related to prosocial employee behaviors. Employee comments, in this study, (although not analyzed qualitatively) indicated that employees in the park under study felt they were treated unfairly on a

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141 variety of dimensions (including pay and working conditions). The results found in this study (no relationship found between satisfaction with supervisors or the organization and customer orientation) may be impacted by fairness perceptions. Future research should investigate the job satisfaction/fairness perceptions/customer orientation relationship. In addition, because both supervisory and organizational dimensions of satisfaction were measured at the same time and on a single instrument, the validity of the results (showing no relationship between most dimensions of job satisfaction and customer orientation) may have been impacted. Future research should be conducted measuring each dimension of job satisfaction independently. Relationship Marketing Orientation It was shown, in this study, that relationship marketing orientation could be measured at the individual front line employee level. In addition, the results showed a relationship between relationship marketing orientation of front line employees and customer orientation. Sin et al. (2005) found that relationship marketing orientation (measured at the organizational level) is related to organizational performance (including customer retention, market share, and sales growth). Managers should monitor internal practices of the organization in order to strengthen relationships with external customers (Sin et al., 2005). The relationship marketing orientation scale can be used as a diagnostic tool, identifying where organizational improvements are needed. Additionally, the dimensions of relationship marketing orientation can be used in front line employee training to improve employee understanding of the organization’s relationship marketing orientation approach. A recurring complaint expressed by employees in this study is their perception that the pay system is unfair. A very large percentage of respondents indicated that upper

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142 management has a policy of regular performance review and pay raises. However, employees indicated that these reviews seldom (if ever) occurred and regular pay raises were non-existent. Buttle and Burton (2002) indicated that a change in employee reward structure (i.e., increased pay as a result of service goals v. performance goals) was a necessary component of a successful organizational relationship marketing program. Organization’s reward systems should be restructured to encourage employees to focus on the external customer (Macintosh & Gentry, 1995). Incentive systems that reward such an employee focus (including information acquisition and dissemination) need to be investigated. Satisfaction with pay can be ensured by offering pay that is both competitive and fairly distributed (Chebat, Babin, & Kollias, 2002). Widmier (2002) found that customer satisfaction incentives for employees have a positive effect on employee customer orientation. In addition, employee personality characteristics (including level of empathy) have an impact on customer orientation. Summary and Conclusions Limitations of the Study and Recommendations for Future Research Limitations The design employed, in this study, was survey research. Responses to questions regarding beliefs, attitudes and intentions may be distorted by the very nature of survey questions (Feldman & Lynch, 1988). Feldman and Lynch (1988) termed this phenomenon self generated validity, and suggested that it can occur in one of two ways. If a respondent has no opinion regarding a belief, attitude or intention, the research question may create one, or if a respondent already holds the answer regarding a belief, attitude or intention in long term memory, the answer given may not be retrieved but rather impacted by earlier responses given in the survey. Feldman and Lynch (1988)

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143 suggest that, in order to lessen the potential impact of self generated validity, researchers should engage in pre testing with the subject population (including interviews and observation) to determine pre existing attitudes and beliefs, and to determine the terms and constructs typically used. The survey instrument was pre-tested in this study, however, a very small number (n = 10) from the population under study was interviewed during the pilot survey. No structural or content changes were made to the survey instrument as a result. An extensive qualitative analysis with a larger pre-test sample is recommended (especially as it relates to the exploratory questions designed to measure relationship marketing orientation at the front line employee level). A second limitation of this study was the use of a cross sectional design. The major limitation of a cross sectional design is that it is difficult to explain phenomenon that may occur over time. The current study involved front line employees and (in part) their experience with direct supervisors. The park under study expands its workforce by nearly one third during the busy (summer) season. The data used in this study were collected in the fall of 2005. This was the beginning of the slow season for the park. Future research would benefit from a longitudinal approach (allowing both seasonal and regular staff experiences to be considered). A third limitation of this study is the use of a newly developed scale designed to measure relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level. Although the reliability of the scale was established (as measured by Cronbach’s Alpha), it has not been confirmed by other research. A scale designed to measure relationship marketing orientation at the organizational level was developed by Sin et al. (2005). The reliability of the Sin et al. (2005) scale was indicated in their initial study, but it has not

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144 been confirmed by other research. In order to confirm the reliability (and validity) of the relationship marketing orientation scale developed in this study, it should be applied in different settings, and with different populations. Respondents in this study reported very high levels of both customer orientation and relationship marketing orientation. At the same time they reported high dissatisfaction with a variety of job satisfaction and communication satisfaction dimensions (including satisfaction with the organization and supervisors). The association between customer orientation and relationship marketing orientation found in this study may have been a result of a similarity between the questions designed to measure customer orientation and relationship marketing orientation. It is recommended that future research further study the dimensions of customer orientation and relationship marketing orientation to determine if these constructs are measuring distinctly different dimensions of employee behavior. This study was confidential but not anonymous. The high levels of customer orientation and relationship marketing orientation identified by respondents may have been artificially high due to this fact. Future research should be conducted using anonymous responses in order to control for this potential limitation. Because the focus of this study was the experience of front line employees, those in supervisory positions were intentionally excluded. Management input would allow future researchers better insight into the responses given by front line employees (for example; the association between front line employees’ satisfaction with supervision and what this encompasses).

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145 Although a variety of demographic and work characteristics were considered in this study the list was not exhaustive. It is recommended that future research increase the number of demographic and work characteristics considered (including race and socio-economic status) and their impact on customer orientation. A final limitation of this study was the use of the Selling Orientation-Customer Orientation (SOCO) scale developed by Saxe & Weitz (1982) to measure the dependent variable in this study. The SOCO scale has been used in previous research predominately with salespersons. The SOCO scale was used in this study with front line employees who are not salespersons in the traditional sense (they are paid by the hour and sales volume does not impact pay received). Future research using the SOCO scale to measure customer orientation with other non selling populations is recommended. Recommendations for Future Research Only one dimension of job satisfaction measured in this study (satisfaction with co-workers) was found to be related to customer orientation. The results of this study imply that some other dimension of the co-worker relationship is impacting customer orientation. In addition, no relationship was found between satisfaction with co-worker communication, or between demographic or work characteristics and customer orientation. It is recommended that future research explore the co-worker relationship to determine what specifically is impacting reported levels of satisfaction and in what ways these dimensions impact customer orientation. The results of this study found no relationship between satisfaction with supervisors and customer orientation. This result may be due in part to employee fairness perceptions. Respondents in this study viewed the promotion practices in the study organization to be very unfair. Bettencourt and Brown (1997) found that employee

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146 fairness perceptions impacted the relationship between job satisfaction and employee’s prosocial behaviors. Fairness perceptions were not considered in this study. Future research testing the relationship between job satisfaction and customer orientation (while considering fairness perceptions) is recommended. In this study, no relationship was found between length of employment (either overall, or within the current department) and customer orientation. This result is inconsistent with the findings of Michaels and Day (1985). Although the Michaels and Day (1985) study was hindered due to the setting of the study, future research should further investigate the association between length of employment and customer orientation. In this study, no association was found between communication satisfaction and customer orientation. This finding is (partially) inconsistent with the findings of Conduit and Mavondo (2001) who found a positive association between internal communication satisfaction and internal customer orientation. Even though the Conduit and Mavondo (2001) study dealt with internal customers (employees) and internal customer orientation, further research between communication satisfaction and customer orientation is recommended. One recommendation for future research made by Sin et al. (2005) was to set the study of the measure of relationship marketing orientation between retailers and consumers. Future research should focus on the association between relationship marketing orientation and business performance. Sin et al. (2005) found an association between business performance and relationship marketing orientation at the organizational level.

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147 Future research should investigate the relationship between relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level and business performance indicators (including customer retention, market share, and sales growth). This study found that relationship marketing orientation could be measured at the individual front line employee level. In addition, an association between the relationship marketing orientation of front line employees and customer orientation was found. Because this was the first study to measure relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level, additional research in different settings and with different subjects is recommended. Factor analysis, in this study, identified three dimensions of relationship marketing orientation at the individual level. Future research into the reliability and validity of these dimensions is suggested. The findings in this study imply that in addition to measuring relationship marketing orientation at the organizational level, organizations can measure the relationship marketing orientation of individual front line employees and compare the two results. It is recommended that future researchers explore the relationship between organizational relationship marketing orientation and individual front line employee relationship marketing orientation. Finally, the findings in this study imply that organizations can only increase the customer orientation of front line employees by increasing employee satisfaction with co-workers or increasing front line employee relationship marketing orientation. Future research should study what organizational actions increase the relationship marketing orientation of front line employee.

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148 Summary For decades the American business model has focused on increasing market share as a key to maximizing profits and concentrated on attracting new customers instead of retaining existing ones. As with all service organizations, theme parks face a variety of challenges including increased competition, recession, downsizing, a more demanding customer, and increased government regulation and intervention. Developing a relationship with today’s customer has become a necessary component of a successful business strategy. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between front line employee satisfaction (including satisfaction with various dimensions of organizational communication) and customer orientation. This study also developed a measure of relationship marketing orientation at the individual front line employee level and studied the relationship between employee relationship marketing orientation and customer orientation. Social Exchange Theory and Equity Theory were used as theoretical frameworks to help explain the relationships found. Results showed that relationship marketing orientation can be measured at the individual front line employee level and that employees holding a high relationship marketing orientation also hold a high customer orientation. Results also showed that employees who are more satisfied with the relationship they enjoy with co-workers have a higher customer orientation. The results of this study represent a valuable tool for theme park managers. Because an organizational relationship with customers has become necessary for success, the interaction between front line employees and the customer has become even more important. Through proper orientation and training, organizations can

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149 instill their relationship philosophy to front line employees and increase not only individual employee relationship marketing orientation, but also customer orientation.

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APPENDIX A SURVEY INSTRUMENT 150

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APPENDIX B 105 ITEM RELATIONSHIP MARKETING ORIENTATION SURVEY INSTRUMENT The following questions are designed to measure front-line employees’ relationship marketing orientation. Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate. Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 My company trusts me, allowing me to better service the customer. The customer can trust me in the decisions I make. The customer can trust my company in the decisions it makes. I can trust the customer to respond appropriately when I make a decision. I can trust the customer to respond appropriately when my company makes a decision. The customer is confident that I will act in an appropriate way. The customer can be confident that I will keep my promises. It is important that the customer trusts me. One of my primary roles is to solve customer problems. My company relies on me, allowing me to better service the customer. I rely on the customer. The customer relies on me. I try hard to establish a long-term working relationship with the customer. The customer tries to establish a long-term working relationship with me. I work in close cooperation with the customer to make decisions. I keep in touch with the customer on a regular basis. I value the customer’s opinion. I identify with the customer. I try to develop working relationships with many customers. I like my customers, considering some of them friends. 162

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163 Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate. Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 I communicate with the customer frequently. I express my opinions with the customer frequently. The customer communicates with me frequently. The customer expresses their opinion with me frequently. I can express my discontent toward the customer with them through communication. The customer can express their discontent toward me with me through communication. The customer can express their discontent toward my company with me through communication. I can communicate honestly with the customer. The customer can communicate honestly with me. The customer can communicate honestly with my company. I share the same opinions about most things with my company, allowing me to better service the customer. I share the same values about most things with my company, allowing me to better service the customer. I share the same opinions about most things with the customer. I share the same values about most things with the customer. My goals are similar to the goals of the customer. A relationship with the customer increases the value they receive. Quality service is more important than a low price. Building a relationship with the customer increases the value they perceive vs. what they could receive from a competitor. I see things from my company’s view, allowing me to better service the customer. My company knows how I feel, allowing me to better service the customer. My company cares about my feelings, allowing me to better service the customer. I see things from the customer’s view. The customer sees things from my view.

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164 Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate. Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 I know how the customer feels. The customer knows how I feel. I understand the values and goals of the customer. The customer can understand my values and goals. I care about the feelings of the customer. The customer cares about my feelings. My company keeps promises made to me, allowing me to better service the customer. What I gain through close interaction with my company is equal to what I give. I feel obligated toward my company. My company is generous toward me, allowing me to better service the customer. I receive a benefit through a close interaction with my company, allowing me to better service the customer. I keep my promises made to the customer in any situation. The customer keeps their promise to me in any situation. What I gain through close interaction with the customer is equal to what I give. I feel obligated to the customer. I am generous toward the customer. The customer is generous toward me. I receive a benefit through developing a close interaction with the customer. The customer receives a benefit through developing a close interaction with my company. The customer receives a benefit through developing a close interaction with me. My company enables me to deliver on the promises made to the customer. I deliver on the promises made to the customer by my company. My company keeps the promises made to the customer. My company makes realistic promises to the customer. I make realistic promises to the customer.

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165 Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate. Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 I have access to the appropriate information and equipment that allows me to deliver on promises made to the customer. I act in a way that reduces consumer decision-making, allowing them a more enjoyable experience. I often develop a personal friendship with the customer. My primary goal is high customer satisfaction. I always strive to exceed customer expectations. When a service failure occurs, I work with the customer until they are completely satisfied. Customers often give me a chance to fix a service failure. My company allows me to do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer. My company enjoys an advantage over competitors when I try to establish a working relationship with the customer. Part of my responsibility is to promote my company to the customer. I am dedicated to providing the customer with an enjoyable experience. Interactions with the customer are one-time only events. A relationship with the customer is beneficial to my company. I often recommend to management better ways to service the customer. Because competition is so high, it is my responsibility to do everything possible to keep the customer satisfied. My company is a service company. The value of a customer should be measured over a lifetime. The customer should be given a bigger role in decisions that affect them. Customer satisfaction levels should be used as a measure to determine advancement and promotion. Customer comment cards are a valuable tool making for management decisions. Customer input is important in my decision making.

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166 Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate. Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 Retaining existing customers is equally as important as attracting new ones. My company should have a reputation for building relationships with customers. I consider myself an expert in my job. Employee empowerment is necessary for delivering high customer service. I should be allowed to make any decision necessary to keep the customer satisfied. I have the authority to take any means necessary to keep the customer satisfied. The customer and I work as a team in building a satisfying visit. I often change the way I work to accommodate customer needs. I want to develop a working relationship with the customer. I have a desire to continue a working relationship with the customer. Establishing a working relationship with the customer is important to me. Establishing a working relationship with the customer is valuable to my company. It is important to have a working relationship with the customer today, and into the future. My company allows me to express my opinions, allowing me to better service the customer. I can express my discontent with my company to management, allowing me to better service the customer. I can communicate honestly with my company, allowing me to better service the customer.

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APPENDIX C 81 ITEM RELATIONSHIP MARKETING ORIENTATION SURVEY INSTRUMENT Developing a close interaction with customers has become a necessary component for organizational success. Relationship marketing has been developed to allow organizations to interact with customers on a more intimate level. Relationship marketing orientation is defined by a focus on individual buyer-seller relationships, by a long-term focus, and by the fact that each party to the relationship benefits by remaining in the relationship. Relationship marketing orientation is characterized by six main components: trust, bonding, communication, shared value, empathy, and reciprocity. Research within relationship marketing has primarily focused on business-to-business interactions. This survey is a first attempt to develop a measure of relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level. Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate. Put an “X” in the box under your chosen number. Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 I have the authority to take any means necessary to keep the customer satisfied. I keep my promises made to the customer in any situation. I see things from my company’s view, allowing me to better service the customer. I can communicate honestly with the customer. I rely on the customer. I value the customer’s opinion. The customer can trust me in the decisions I make. Retaining existing customers is equally as important as attracting new ones. I often change the way I work to accommodate customer needs. I have access to the appropriate information and equipment that allows me to deliver on promises made to the customer. My company is a service company. The customer is confident that I will act in an appropriate way. The customer tries to establish a long-term working relationship with me. I always strive to exceed customer expectations. Part of my responsibility is to promote my company to the customer. 167

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168 Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 Employee empowerment is necessary for delivering high customer service. Establishing a working relationship with the customer is important to me. The customer knows how I feel. I often develop a personal friendship with the customer. My company allows me to do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer. I am dedicated to providing the customer with an enjoyable experience. I want to develop a working relationship with the customer. The customer can communicate honestly with me. I share the same values about most things with the customer. I feel obligated to the customer. My company should have a reputation for building relationships with customers. I can trust the customer to respond appropriately when I make a decision. I try hard to establish a long-term working relationship with the customer. I should be allowed to make any decision necessary to keep the customer satisfied. It is important to have a working relationship with the customer today, and into the future. The customer can be confident that I will keep my promises. The customer keeps their promise to me in any situation. The customer receives a benefit through developing a close interaction with me. It is important that the customer trusts me. Customer input is important in my decision making. I care about the feelings of the customer. The customer sees things from my view.

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169 Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate. Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 I share the same values about most things with my company, allowing me to better service the customer. I have a desire to continue a working relationship with the customer. I feel obligated toward my company. The customer expresses their opinion with me frequently. The customer relies on me. I often recommend to management better ways to service the customer. The customer and I work as a team in building a satisfying visit. I work in close cooperation with the customer to make decisions. I try to develop working relationships with many customers. The customer is generous toward me. Customer comment cards are a valuable tool making for management decisions. I identify with the customer. I like my customers, considering some of them friends. I keep in touch with the customer on a regular basis. The customer should be given a bigger role in decisions that affect them. Because competition is so high, it is my responsibility to do everything possible to keep the customer satisfied. I understand the values and goals of the customer. I receive a benefit through developing a close interaction with the customer. I communicate with the customer frequently. My goals are similar to the goals of the customer. My company makes realistic promises to the customer. I can express my discontent toward the customer with them through communication.

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170 Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate. Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 The value of a customer should be measured over a lifetime. The customer receives a benefit through developing a close interaction with my company. Quality service is more important than a low price. My company enjoys an advantage over competitors when I try to establish a working relationship with the customer. The customer can understand my values and goals. A relationship with the customer is beneficial to my company. Building a relationship with the customer increases the value they perceive vs. what they could receive from a competitor. Customers often give me a chance to fix a service failure. My primary goal is high customer satisfaction. The customer can express their discontent toward me with me through communication. I see things from the customer’s view. What I gain through close interaction with the customer is equal to what I give. I act in a way that reduces consumer decision-making, allowing them a more enjoyable experience. I express my opinions with the customer frequently. I share the same opinions about most things with the customer. The customer cares about my feelings. The customer communicates with me frequently. I make realistic promises to the customer. A working relationship with the customer increases the value they receive. Customer satisfaction levels should be used as a measure to determine advancement and promotion. I know how the customer feels. I deliver on the promises made to the customer by my company. Thank-you very much for taking the time to complete this survey. If you have additional comments, please feel free to provide them below. When you are finished, email the file back to me as an attachment to: mwagenheim@hhp.ufl.edu

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APPENDIX D 55 ITEM RELATIONSHIP MARKETING ORIENTATION SURVEY INSTRUMENT Developing a close interaction with customers has become a necessary component for organizational success. Relationship marketing has been developed to allow organizations to interact with customers on a more intimate level. Relationship marketing orientation is defined by a focus on individual buyer-seller relationships, by a long-term focus, and by the fact that each party to the relationship benefits by remaining in the relationship. Relationship marketing orientation is characterized by six main components: trust, bonding, communication, shared value, empathy, and reciprocity. Research within relationship marketing has primarily focused on business-to-business interactions. This survey is a first attempt to develop a measure of relationship marketing orientation at the individual employee level. Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate. Put an “X” in the box under your chosen number. Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 I keep my promises made to the customer in any situation. I can communicate honestly with the customer. I value the customer’s opinion. The customer can trust me in the decisions I make. Retaining existing customers is equally as important as attracting new ones. I often change the way I work to accommodate customer needs. I have access to the appropriate information and equipment that allows me to deliver on promises made to the customer. My company is a service company. The customer is confident that I will act in an appropriate way. The customer tries to establish a long-term working relationship with me. I always strive to exceed customer expectations. Part of my responsibility is to promote my company to the customer. 171

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172 Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate. Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 The customer can communicate honestly with me. I feel obligated to the customer. My company should have a reputation for building relationships with customers. I try hard to establish a long-term working relationship with the customer. I should be allowed to make any decision necessary to keep the customer satisfied. It is important to have a working relationship with the customer today, and into the future. The customer can be confident that I will keep my promises. The customer receives a benefit through developing a close interaction with me. It is important that the customer trusts me. Customer input is important in my decision making. I care about the feelings of the customer. I have a desire to continue a working relationship with the customer. The customer expresses their opinion with me frequently. The customer relies on me. I often recommend to management better ways to service the customer. The customer and I work as a team in building a satisfying visit. I work in close cooperation with the customer to make decisions. I try to develop working relationships with many customers. Customer comment cards are a valuable tool making for management decisions. I identify with the customer. My company allows me to do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer.

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173 Please indicate the appropriateness of each question to measure front-line employee relationship marketing orientation from 1 = inappropriate to 5 = appropriate. Inappropriate Appropriate 1 2 3 4 5 The value of a customer should be measured over a lifetime. The customer receives a benefit through developing a close interaction with my company. Quality service is more important than a low price. My company enjoys an advantage over competitors when I try to establish a working relationship with the customer. A relationship with the customer is beneficial to my company. Building a relationship with the customer increases the value they perceive vs. what they could receive from a competitor. My primary goal is high customer satisfaction. The customer can express their discontent toward me with me through communication. I see things from the customer’s view. What I gain through close interaction with the customer is equal to what I give. I make realistic promises to the customer. A working relationship with the customer increases the value they receive. Because competition is so high, it is my responsibility to do everything possible to keep the customer satisfied. I understand the values and goals of the customer. I communicate with the customer frequently. My company makes realistic promises to the customer. I am dedicated to providing the customer with an enjoyable experience. I want to develop a working relationship with the customer. I know how the customer feels. I deliver on the promises made to the customer by my company. Employee empowerment is necessary for delivering high customer service. Establishing a working relationship with the customer is important to me. Thank-you very much for taking the time to complete this survey. If you have additional comments, please feel free to provide them below.

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APPENDIX E PRE SURVEY COVER LETTER (SOUTHEAST THEME PARK LETTERHEAD) John Smith Southeast Theme Park 1234 Smith Road Anytown, USA 33211 Dear John, Included in your next paycheck, you will receive a request to fill out a brief questionnaire for an important research project being conducted through the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida. This survey will help park management better understand what drives job satisfaction, and the impact satisfaction has on relationship marketing orientation. This will help us to better design the employee working environment, increase employee satisfaction, relationship marketing orientation, and external customer satisfaction. All employees are being asked to participate. Every completed questionnaire is very important in order to get accurate and reliable results. We encourage everyone to take a few minutes to complete the questionnaire and drop it in any outgoing mail in the enclosed, stamped envelope. It is very important to understand that Wild Adventures management is NOT conducting this survey. The questionnaires will be sent directly to the researcher at the University of Florida. Your complete confidentiality is guaranteed to the extent provided by law. Southeast Theme Park management and ownership will NOT have access to individual results. The final report will contain only totals. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the principal researcher directly. Matt Wagenheim Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management The University of Florida 300 Florida Gym – Box 8208 Gainesville, FL 32611-8208 (352) 392-4042 – email: mwagenheim@hhp.ufl.edu Sincerely, Adam Brown Owner P.S. In order to get the best results possible, we are hoping to get 100% participation. 174

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APPENDIX F SURVEY COVER LETTER FIRST DISTRIBUTION (DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM, RECREATION AND SPORT MANAGEMENT LETTERHEAD) John Smith Southeast Theme Park 1234 Smith Road Anytown, USA 33211 Dear John, I am writing to ask for your help in a study being conducted through the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida. The purpose of this study is to learn how job satisfaction among theme park employees impacts their customer orientation. All employees of Southeast Theme Park are being asked to participate. Every completed questionnaire is very important in order to get accurate and reliable results. The results of this survey will help theme park management better understand what drives job satisfaction, and the impact satisfaction has on customer orientation. This will allow managers within theme parks to better design the employee working environment, increase employee satisfaction, customer orientation, and external customer satisfaction. You are being asked to fill out a questionnaire that should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. The enclosed questionnaire has been assigned a code number. The list connecting your name to this number will be kept in a locked file cabinet in my office. When the study is completed and the data have been analyzed, the list will be destroyed. Your name will not be used in any report. Participation in this project represents minimal risk to you. Your answers will in no way impact your employment. You will not be compensated in any way for your participation. Your participation is voluntary, and there is no penalty for not participating. You have the right to withdraw form the study at anytime without consequence. If you have any questions regarding participation, please contact my supervisor or me directly: Stephen Anderson, Ph.D. Supervisor Matt Wagenheim, Principal Researcher Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management The University of Florida 300 Florida Gym – Box 8208 Gainesville, FL 32611-8208 (352) 392-4042 – email: anderson@hhp.ufl.edu or mwagenheim@hhp.ufl.edu If you have any questions regarding your rights as a research participant, please contact: UFIRB Office Box 112250 The University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611-2250 (352) 392-0433 175

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176 Thank-you very much for helping with this important study. Sincerely, Matt Wagenheim Principal Researcher

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APPENDIX G SURVEY COVER LETTER FIRST DISTRIBUTION TO NON RESPONDENTS (DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM, RECREATION AND SPORT MANAGEMENT LETTERHEAD) John Smith Southeast Theme Park 1234 Smith Road Anytown, USA 33211 Dear John, About two weeks ago you received a questionnaire in your paycheck that asked about your work experiences at Southeast Theme Park. To the best of our knowledge, it has not yet been returned. The comments of people who have already responded include a wide variety of responses with regard to job satisfaction at Southeast Theme Park. Many have described their work experiences, both good and bad. We think the results are going to be very useful for theme park management to improve working conditions. We are writing again because of the importance that your questionnaire has for helping get accurate results. Although we sent questionnaires to all employees of Southeast Theme Park, it’s only by hearing from nearly everyone in the sample that we can be sure that the results are truly representative. A few people have written to say that they should not have received a questionnaire because they no longer work at the park. If this applies to you, please let us know on the cover of the questionnaire and return it in the enclosed envelope so that we can delete your name from the mailing list. Please take approximately 15 minutes to complete the questionnaire today. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. The enclosed questionnaire has been assigned a code number. The list connecting your name to this number will be kept in a locked file cabinet in my office. When the study is completed and the data have been analyzed, the list will be destroyed. Your name will never be used in any report. Participation in this project represents minimal risk to you. Your answers will in no way impact your employment. You will not be compensated in any way for your participation. Your participation is voluntary, and there is no penalty for not participating. You have the right to withdraw from the study at anytime without consequence. We hope that you will fill out and return the questionnaire soon, but if for any reason you prefer not to answer it, please let us know by returning a note or a blank questionnaire in the enclosed stamped envelope. If you have any questions regarding participation, please contact my supervisor or me directly, or the IRB office: Stephen Anderson, Ph.D. – Supervisor UFIRB Office Box 112250 The University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611-2250 (352) 392-0433 Matt Wagenheim, Principal Investigator Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management University of Florida 300 Florida Gym – Box 118208 Gainesville, FL 32611-8208 177

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178 (352) 392-4042 – email: mwagenheim@hhp.ufl.edu John, thank you very much for helping with this important study. Sincerely, Matt Wagenheim Principal Researcher

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APPENDIX H SURVEY COVER LETTER SECOND DISTRIBUTION TO NON RESPONDENTS (DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM, RECREATION AND SPORT MANAGEMENT LETTERHEAD) John Smith Southeast Theme Park 1234 Smith Road Anytown, USA 33211 Dear John, About two weeks ago you received a questionnaire that asked about your work experiences at Southeast Theme Park. To the best of our knowledge, it has not yet been returned. The comments of people who have already responded include a wide variety of responses with regard to job satisfaction at Southeast Theme Park. Many have described their work experiences, both good and bad. We think the results are going to be very useful for theme park management to improve working conditions. This will be the last time we contact you. We are writing again because of the importance that your questionnaire has for helping get accurate results. Although we sent questionnaires to all employees of Southeast Theme Park, it’s only by hearing from nearly everyone in the sample that we can be sure that the results are truly representative. A few people have written to say that they should not have received a questionnaire because they no longer work at the park. If this applies to you, please let us know on the cover of the questionnaire and return it in the enclosed envelope so that we can delete your name from the mailing list. Please take approximately 15 minutes to complete the questionnaire today. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. The enclosed questionnaire has been assigned a code number. The list connecting your name to this number will be kept in a locked file cabinet in my office. When the study is completed and the data have been analyzed, the list will be destroyed. Your name will never be used in any report. Participation in this project represents minimal risk to you. Your answers will in no way impact your employment. You will not be compensated in any way for your participation. Your participation is voluntary, and there is no penalty for not participating. You have the right to withdraw from the study at anytime without consequence. We hope that you will fill out and return the questionnaire soon, but if for any reason you prefer not to answer it, please let us know by returning a note or a blank questionnaire in the enclosed stamped envelope. If you have any questions regarding participation, please contact my supervisor or me directly, or the IRB office: Stephen Anderson, Ph.D. – Supervisor UFIRB Office Box 112250 The University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611-2250 (352) 392-0433 Matt Wagenheim, Principal Investigator Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management University of Florida 300 Florida Gym – Box 118208 179

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180 Gainesville, FL 32611-8208 (352) 392-4042 – email: mwagenheim@hhp.ufl.edu John, thank you very much for helping with this important study. Sincerely, Matt Wagenheim Principal Researcher

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APPENDIX I INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD (IRB) APPROVAL 181

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183 Balzer, W., Kihm, J., Smith, P., Irwin, J., B achiochi, P., & Robie, C. (2000). Users' manual for the Job Descriptive Index (JDI ; 1997 version) and the Job In General scales. In J. Stanton & C. Crossley (Eds.), Electronic Resources for the JDI and JIG . Bowling Green, OH: Bowli ng Green State University. Barnes, B., Fox, M., & Morris, D. (2004). Exploring the linkage between internal marketing, relationship marketing and service quality: A case study of a consulting organization. Total Quality Management, 15 (5-6), 593-601. Barnes, B., & Morris, D. (2000). Revising qual ity awareness through in ternal marketing: An exploratory study among French and English medium-sized corporations. Total Quality Management, 11 (4/5&6), s473-s483. Barnes, J. (1997). Closeness, strength, a nd satisfaction: Examining the nature of relationships between providers and financ ial servcies and their retail customers. Psychology & Marketing, 14 (18), 765-790. Barnes, L. (1981). Managing the pa radox of organizational trust. Harvard Business Review, 59 (2), 107-110. Barsky, J. (1992). Customer satisfaction in th e hotel industry: Meaning and measurement. Hospitality Research Journal, 16 (1), 51-73. Bauer, K. (2000). The front line: Sa tisfaction of classified employees. New Directions for Institutional Research, 105 , 87-97. Baumgartner, T., & Jackson, A. (1999). Measurement for Evaluation in Physical Education and Exercise Science (6th ed.). Boston: W.C. Brown. Beardon, W., & Teal, J. (1983). Selected dete rminants of consumer satisfaction and complaint reports. Journal of Marketing Research, 20 , 21-28. Bejou, D. (1997). Relationship marketing: Evolution, present state, and future. Psychology & Marketing, 14 (8), 727-736. Berry, L. (1981). The employee as customer. Journal of Retail Banking, 3 , 33-40. Berry, L. (1983). Relationship marketing. In L. Berry, G. Shostak & G. Upch (Eds.), Emerging Perspectives of Services Marketing (pp. 25-38). Chicago: American Marketing Association. Berry, L. (1995). Relationship marketing of services: Growing interest, emerging perspectives. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 23 (4), 236-245. Berry, L., & Parasuraman, A. (1991). Marketing Services: Co mpeting Through Quality . New York: The Free Press.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Matthew Wagenheim earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice in 1992 and a Master of Science degree in 1997 from Michigan State University. Before attending the University of Florida he owned and operated his own custom woodworking business. 203