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Dissertation on Teamwork and Customer Service Quality Essay

1.0 INTRODUCTION

This chapter includes the background of the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives of the study, research questions, and scope of the study, significance of the study, limitations of the study and operational definition of terms.

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Phil (2002) team working is a group of people who work together towards a shared and meaningful outcomes in ways that combine their individual skills and abilities and for which they are all responsible. He added that a real team does not just happen but an organization has to work at it, create it, maintain and sustain it for the development and provision of quality standards and expectations to the customers. Organizations need teamwork in order to promote innovation and synergy, improve their goal achievement, promote professional development of team members, achieve time reduction targets and get cross-boundary ownership of tasks and problems.

Ronald (2004) argues that customer service depends on the expectations of the individual customer. However, all attempts to define customer service tend to focus on the relationships at the buyer/seller interface. He further added that to achieve the customer service levels expected, an organization need to ensure that for each of these two categories: the systems, measurements and the people are in place to respond to each customer group or market. Juran (2000) says that quality is the degree of excellence that is fitness for the purpose. It can also mean the degree in which customer requirements are met. Quality is built at every stage and teams solve problems where everyone is responsible for the quality of the product.

A customer is a person or an organization that buys goods or services from the shop, business, etc on a regular basis. Woods et al (2001) assert that customer service quality as the satisfaction of the agreed customer requirements. This means that the total customer service quality is the mobilization of the whole organization to achieve quality, continuously and economically.

National curriculum Development Centre is an arm of the Ministry of Education and sports responsible for the Inter-alia development of curricula and related materials for various levels of education. The National curriculum Development Centre was established by NCDC act chapter 135, laws of Uganda Revised Edition 2000 whose history is decree No 7 of 1973.

Baale(2010) a curriculum specialist in math for secondary at NCDC, team working is very crucial in the development and review of curriculum that result into the satisfaction of parents, stakeholders, learners, teachers and the general public. He emphasized that team work cannot be avoided when developing curriculum as it includes a panel composed of members from different areas such as subject specialists, practicing teachers, teachers associations, UNEB representative, ESA representative, teacher trainers especially from some Universities and employers or parents.

Team work comes when a subject curriculum is being developed. In this case a panel of 18 members from various institutions sits and develops the curriculum. Baseline survey is conducted from parents, teachers and sometimes from learners which result into child based curriculum. Then pilot study of selected teachers from few schools is done and cluster meetings held by teachers who carried out pilot study. The education system preparation trains all teachers about the developed curriculum and NCDC specifies instructional materials to the ministry of education that are purchased and sent to schools where implementation starts. In a period of 5- 10 years the developed curriculum is supposed to be reviewed.

Enyutu (2005) stated that available test results from a wide variety of sources had demonstrated prior to the curriculum review that a majority of Ugandan children entering primary school were failing to achieve adequate literacy and numeric standards. Dropout rates were high with only 22% of the 1997 P1 cohort progressing through to P7 in 2003. NAPE test results in 2003 indicated that only approximately 20% of P6 students achieved basic standards of literacy. The combination of these two pieces of information suggested that of the 1997 P1 entry cohort, only 4-5% achieved basic literacy. NAPE testing also revealed very large and unacceptable regional differentials particularly between Kampala and the north of Uganda. Bearing in mind the enormous efforts and the substantial investments in primary education made by the government of Uganda with strong support from its development partners over the past 10 -15 years, these outcomes were disappointing.

In all cases the proposals in these related areas have been discussed with senior staff in the Ministry of education and sports departments concerned and with the agencies and development partners directly involved in primary education in Uganda and there has been a very large measure of agreement on the way ahead. Nevertheless, the primary review team did conclude that there were significant flaws in the current primary curriculum and a failure to provide both sufficient time and an adequate syllabus concentration on the achievement of early literacy and numeracy in lower primary grades was by far the most important problem that needed to be addressed.

Failure to achieve basic literacy and numeracy in any language in lower primary grades inevitably has a devastating impact on educational quality and student performance in all other subjects. Failure to achieve early literacy was clearly the issue of greatest concern to parents and the wider community that emerged from the primary curriculum review research. It was also perceived to be one of the major causes of drop- outs. National Curriculum Development Centre seems to be using teamwork when executing its functions. It is against this ground that the researcher will investigate how teamwork at NCDC meets customer requirements.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Many organizations are focusing on teamwork as a measure to improve the quality of their services delivered through brainstorming, innovation and creativity. Amidst these efforts results are not achieved due to poor coordination, lack of commitment by top management and limited funds. To address these short comings of teamwork visa-a-vie customer service quality in non profit making institutions one needs to access the level of involvement of all stakeholders in order to achieve overall performance levels (Tony 2005).

NAPE (2003) report shows poor performance of children in literacy and numeracy skills in either local languages or in English due to insufficient orientation, training and support provided to teachers before the implementation of the curriculum. School supervision by the district inspectorate outside urban areas was almost everywhere insufficient to ensure good school management, the effective delivery of curriculum and regular teacher attendance.

Therefore it is the interest of the researcher to know whether customer service quality is achieved through teamwork.

1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY:

The purpose of the study will be to examine the impact of team work on customer service quality using National Curriculum Development Centre located at Kyambogo as a case study.

1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:

The research objectives will be:

i. To find out the benefits of using team work in organizations ii. To examine the appropriate team work techniques used in organizations to achieve customer service quality iii. To establish the level of customer service quality at National curriculum Development Centre

1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

i. Are there benefits of team work gained by National curriculum Development Centre? ii. What team work techniques does National curriculum Development Centre use to achieve customer service quality? iii. What is the level of customer service quality at National curriculum Development Centre?

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study will cover the subject, time, geographical and sample scope.

1.6.1 The subject Scope:

The research will be limited to the impact of team work on one hand as the independent variable and customer service quality as the dependent variable. It will also focus on the achievements of team work at NCDC towards the development of curriculum for educational institutions in the country.

1.6.2 The Geographical Scope:

The study will be carried out at National Curriculum Development Centre which is located at Kyambogo near Banda Trading centre off Kampala-Jinja road. NCDC will be an ideal case study because its core values include Respect and Team work, availability of well documented data, commitment to quality and Excellence.

1.6.3 The Time Scope

The study will consider an operational time frame of a period of 2 years i.e. from the year 2010 to date.

1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:

The study is expected to be beneficial in the following ways:

i. The study guides planners and policy makers in making factual decisions on serving customers which ensures that all the customers, shareholders and management needs are met satisfactorily.

ii. To the academicians, this research gives recommendations for future research and may act as a reference for the entire world regarding contributions of team work on performance of organizations.

iii. The study helps the government and customers to identify how team working at NCDC develop curriculum that is relevant to the future career of the learners.

1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS:

Team work is working together towards a shared and meaningful out come in ways that combine their individual skills and abilities and for which they are all responsible.

Customer service is the satisfaction of agreed customer requirements.

Quality is the degree of excellence that is the extent to which something is fit for its purpose.

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.0 INTRODUCTION

This chapter consists of what other people have said about the researched problem. The researcher therefore reviews some of the related literature for the better insight of the problem. The chapter includes definition of key terms, impact of team work on customer service quality, benefits of team work in organizations, team work techniques and the level of customer service quality.

2.1 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS

Team work is a group of people who work together towards a shared and meaningful out come in ways that combine their individual skills and abilities and for which they are all responsible Phil (2002) .He added that real team does not just happen but an organization has to work at it, create it, maintain and sustain it for the development and provision of quality standards and expectations to customers.

Ronald (2004) argues that customer service depends on the expectations of each individual customer. However, all attempts to define customer service tend to focus on the relationships at the buyer/seller interface. He further added that to achieve customer service levels expected an organization need to ensure that for each of these categories; the systems, measurement and people are in place to respond to each customer group or market.

Michael (1999) stated quality as satisfying customers’ and stakeholders’ needs by means of sufficient mutually agreed deliverables that ,meet all the agreed requirements and specifications every time, on time and in affordable manner. It can also mean meeting the requirements of the deliverables that satisfy the needs which have been identified and agreed upon by customers, stakeholders and contractors.

2.2 IMPACT OF TEAM WORK ON CUSTOMER SERVICE QUALITY

According to Baguley (2002), team work has a great impact on customer service quality. He raised the following points;

Efficiency: Team working is important if people are to continue to be efficient members of the organization. Efficiency is whereby employee’s performance is improved up to the standards of the organizational goals. Team working helps employees to achieve maximum efficiency in their current jobs. It also helps the organization to meet its targets for developing and keeping people with the right skills to meet future needs. It applies to all levels of employees in an organization that is the strategic level, tactical level and operational level.

Improved customer service: Team working involves different members of the organization working together and combining their individual skills and abilities to come up with something that is either a product or a service that will be highly accepted by the customers (Baguley, 2002).

Innovation and Creativity: Sometimes teams of employees work together to develop new products or services through contributing and combining their different ideas and skills. This helps organizations to have new services for customers that eventually improve on its performance and create and sustain customers (Baguley, 2002).

Allan Woods et al (2001) stated that team working requires meetings of teams, sections or departments to understand clearly who does what and ensure reliability which is the single most important aspect of delivering outstanding customer service. The teams organize themselves to take the advantage of the individual skills team members bring with them, work together as a group in ways that bring out the best results and every member of the team must be accountable to each other for the success of the whole team. Team working makes it possible to define and insist upon the maintenance of the standards on behalf of the customers and clients as most of the times customers do not specify their needs by referring to the teams’ attitudes or reliability standards but complain bitterly when the team falls below their perceived standards.

Michiel and Harold (1997) observed that cross functional teams are used in new product development to shorten development cycle times, improve quality and reduce development costs. These goals are attained because the functional areas perform their tasks in groups rather than each functional area performing its task and passing the project off to the next functional area and the key functional groups usually design engineering, manufacturing, quality assurance, purchasing and marketing work on the new product and development simultaneously.

Baguley (2002) said that team working involves integrating individual skills like problem solving, communication, inter personal skills, decision-making and functional skills for the desired out comes. He further added that a good executive team provides a model for everybody in the organization that encourages cooperation and commonality of purpose at all levels of the organization. An assembly team, erection team, machine shop team add value by creating tangible out comes or products which are specific and clearly defined by others and such products meet the expectations of customers.

Bradfield et al (1998) are of the view that direct competition is one of the factors that make companies form development teams. They further stated that to be effective, production has to provide a means by which an organization can focus its resources to meet the needs of their chosen customers efficiently. First it is important to know where you are starting from, second is the decision on where you wish to go in future and the outcome should be a commitment by the organization to a deliberate policy on which customers to serve with products or offerings.

Woods et al (2001) further observed that the essence of team working skills lies in good communication and open approach to people and ideas and that all communication skills should be used in promoting good customer service. They also noted that for any organization to meet the needs of customers there is need for team work to obtain feedback from customers and colleagues (both within and outside the organization) as well as about the need to establish planning cycles. Each cycle of planning and doing should therefore reduce the amount of uncertainties being faced and obtain feedback not simply from planning but by doing.

Adair (1990) argues that innovation calls for a special form of creativity which he called team creativity. He said that all organizations are teams or at least they are potentially so. For effective production and marketing of goods and services these days, delivery on time, at the required quality and at a competitive price calls for a high performance team work. But to improve these existing products or to develop new products and services requires a different order of teamwork (team creativity).

Organizations that practice team creativity will survive and prosper while those that do not will decline and disappear. All employees need to participate as each person at work has approximately 10,000 million brain cells, together with a full range of mental faculties, analyzing, synthesizing and valuing abilities. In all of us these processes can take place intentionally on a conscious plane of thought and also less intentionally in our un conscious minds, giving us insights, intuitions, brain waves, gut feelings, intimations and the occasional pear of a genuinely new idea.

As a general principle people with a “hands- on” involvement in any product or service providing they have a modicum of interest in their work will tend to have new ideas for doing it better. The important thing from the motivational perspective is the feeling of being really part of the enterprise with a full share of responsibility in developing the quality of the product or service.

Developing a quality team takes hard work because development of team skills, time and patience is not something you can decide to have one day, then achieve overnight. The entire organization is part of the same team working toward meeting the requirements of its customers. Whether management, front line or behind the scenes employees, everyone’s work contributes to the end result. There are also specific work unit teams (departmental) with specific goals and assignments.

Teams working together can and should be responsible for identifying problems not previously recognized; finding the root causes of problems; suggesting who should work on problems; solving manpower assignments and scheduling improvements; and providing communication throughout the organization. To be effective, teams in the workplace must develop standards and skills, and then implement ongoing training and coaching to ensure they are put into practice (Anand, 1997).


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