Date of Defense




First Advisor

Dr. Wendy Ford

Second Advisor

Dr. David Houghton


This study examined the systematic rigidity of bureaucracies through the analysis of customer service behaviors used by government employees during telephone interactions. The provider service behaviors used in this research were based on the categories established by Ford and Etienne (1994): courteous service, manipulative service, and personalized service. Ford and Etienne (1994) defined courteous service as "exhibiting behaviors which promote immediate positive relations with customers", and further maintained that, "courteous behaviors can forge a 'bond' between the provider and customer. It is this bond which creates the necessary rapport for a positive customer service encounter" (p. 415). A second category of customer service discussed by Ford and Etienne (1994), manipulative service, is "behavior intended to deceive or control customers" (p. 419). Manipulative behaviors show a desire to achieve immediate outcomes rather than a concern for customers. Ford and Etienne's (1994) final provider service category is personalized service, which is tailored service. Personalized service behaviors "tend to require greater commitment to customers than courteous behaviors, because the goal is to determine and meet customers' individual needs" (Ford &Etienne, 1994, p. 419). This study examined each of Ford and Etienne's (1994) customer service categories in the context of government telephone interactions.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only