Organizations need to remain competitive if they are to survive and thrive in their organizational operations. In order to compete effectively with rivals, organizations must maintain superior performance standards. They do this by developing a competitive advantage by establishing systems, processes, and resources that enable them to be more strategic (Ma, 2000). Organizations differentiate themselves from one another by creating competitive advantages (Ma, 2000). Management teams and management-level personnel can have a major effect on their organizations& competitiveness (Martineau & Hannum, 2004). Skilled leaders and highly skilled employees tend to help their organizations perform better. Management-level employees are responsible for facilitating leadership in their organizations, so it is important to hire managers with good leadership skills (Randall, 2003).
The process of hiring and training these managers varies widely. Some organizations hire experienced employees who have already developed their professional skills. Others hire inexperienced employees and train them to develop work-based skills.
The U.S. military uses the approach of hiring inexperienced personnel and subjecting them to organizational-specific training. As a result, it must invest in personnel development programs that enable its personnel to effectively perform their functions (Farrell, 2008). The hiring process for the U.S military is based on military recruitment policy (Farrell, 2008). Training then happens after recruitment (Farrell, 2008). The military also uses progressive training, which is characterized by continued work-based training programs throughout a person&s military career (Farrell, 2008).
Civilian personnel can be hired by the military if they have specialized skills in areas such as engineering, medicine, and administrative service (Noah, 2016). Skilled civilian personnel are also trained to develop their skills within a military environment (Farrell, 2008).
Active-duty personnel and General Schedule (GS) personnel (primarily civilian employees working for the military) work in different occupational specialties (Farrell, 2008). These two categories of employees differ in their roles and areas of specialty (Farrell, 2008). Military training for active-duty personnel normally happens after recruitment, whereas training for GS personnel can either be administered by learning institutions such as universities or by the military (Adam, 2016). Specialists such as accountants, engineers, strategists, doctors and other professionals are hired to provide their services to the military (Farrell, 2008). General Schedule training normally focuses on enabling them to effectively understand their roles, the operations of the military and other military functions (Adam, 2016). The impact of the training that military personnel is subjected to varies depending on employee performance (Giber, 1997). It can either be positive if it leads to the enhancement of performance, or it can be negative if it fails to help military personnel to effectively perform in their specific job categories (Parry, 1997).
In the military context, management leadership skills can be developed through training and through manager roles. Managers vary in terms of their leadership skills; some managers are more effective than others (Coleman, 2012). The variation in the effectiveness of trained managers is evident in the context of managing the civilian General Schedule personnel who work in the military.
For the purpose of this study, organizational leadership training programs are leadership training programs that exist in or can be introduced by the military (Martineau & Hannum, 2004). This study was undertaken to investigate the relationships (if any) between organizational training in leadership, leadership skills, and the customer service performance of General Schedule personnel working in the military. More specifically, the researcher investigates if there is a correlation between organizational leadership training and the leadership skills used by leaders tasked with managing General Schedule personnel and if there is a correlation between those leadership skills and the performance of General Schedule civilians. The motivation for this study stems from the identified problem of poor quality services offered by General Schedule civilian personnel in Customer Performance Advisory Centers (CPACs). The General Schedule personnel in CPACs work to ensure that they provide quality guidance and assistance to other military personnel deployed on military missions and spouses who may seek information concerning soldiers’ whereabouts and condition. Effective CPAC General Schedule employees enhance the effectiveness of other military personnel (Farrell, 2008).
Background of Problem
Prior research has shown that management leadership skills are affected by three factors: the level of training that managers receive; their personal and professional experience, and the leadership situations to which they are exposed (Parry, 1997). Research has also shown that the performance of an organization is affected by the organizational policies that are adopted, the management strategies that are developed, and the quality of employees (Randall, 2003). Furthermore, managers differ in terms of their leadership approaches, attitudes, levels of expertise, and other factors (Randall, 2003). These leadership skills have a negative or positive effect on employees and the organization as a whole (Randall, 2003). Complaints by active duty personnel about poor quality customer service that they receive from General Schedule employees who in CPACs has increased (DAIG, 2014). General Schedule employees play an important role in providing vital services for the military, including offering assistance to military personnel who inquire about issues that are important to military missions (DAIG, 2014). General Schedule employees can be managed and trained effectively. However, when they do not function effectively, the quality of the training they have received must come into question. The poor customer service that are provided by a majority of the CPAC personnel is as a result of the training that they receive, and which did not fully equip them with interpersonal skills necessary for CPAC personnel to effectively perform their roles (Giber, 1997).
Customer service personnel perform the important role of advising other personnel-based on their inquiries (Swartzlander, 2004). The quality of service that this category of personnel offer varies because the customer service personnel differ in their experiences, attitudes, preferences and other personal and professional attributes (ACSI, 2015). Active duty soldiers, their spouses and other stakeholders tend to interact more frequently with the employees who work in the military’s Civilian Personnel Advisory Centers when they need information or to make inquiries (ACSI, 2015). Poor customer service can affect their experience of customers, and this can hurt the reputation of an organization (Swartzlander, 2004). The reputation of the U.S. Military, like other organizations, can be impacted negatively by poor customer service. Given the critical role played by General Schedule personnel, poor customer satisfaction from the military’s Civilian Personnel Advisory Centers (CPAC) employees can negatively affect organizational performance overall (Swartzlander, 2004). To improve customer satisfaction and organizational performance, it is important to invest in more effective organizational training that focuses on best practices in customer service delivery. It is also important to develop leadership attributes in General Schedule Personnel (Bulut & Culha, 2010). The desirable leadership qualities can also be instilled in management level employees who work in an organization and performance levels for every General Schedule personnel and identifying a way to measure the performance is an effective way to intervene in how General Schedule employees apply themselves in conjunction with the military’s mission (Noah, 2016).
Results for surveys conducted that focus on General Schedule customer Schedule personnel and other General Schedule employees show that there is great variation in the levels of satisfaction of active duty personnel and their dependents who seek for assistance from General Schedule employees (ACSI, 2015). Findings from previous surveys show that not all managers are skilled enough to lead effectively, and organizational based training strategies which vary in every organization. Some organizations can be effective in terms of administering effective training whereas others can fail to administer effective training to their managers and employees (Bulut & Culha, 2010). Ineffective leadership skills tend to impact negatively on personnel performance and the impact of organizational based learning varies depending on how the learning process impacts on the performance of all categories of personnel (Bulut & Culha, 2010). A survey of literature (Bulut & Culha, 2010) it is apparent that there is a lack of adequate research that focuses on examining the correlation that exists between leadership skills used to facilitate leadership for military personnel, and the training programs that are initiated in the military, and the performance of military personnel who work at Civilian Support Advisory Centers.
Statement of Problem
There is a growing concern among active-duty soldiers and their dependents relating to the provision of poor customer service by General Schedule (GS) Personnel who work at Civilian Personnel Advisory Centers (CPAC establishments). It is evident that ineffective training can impact negatively on the performance of General Schedule personnel who are employed from and work at Civilian Personnel Advisory Centers, management level military personnel and active duty personnel (Lynton & Pareek, 2000).
Some organizational management level employees lack effective managerial skills or leadership abilities that are necessary for managers who want to manage effectively (Daugherty, 2014). This means that poor management or leadership is the end result of poor leadership skills and this can have a negative implication on organizational performance (Collins, 2013). Some employees do not understand what is expected of them and also lack the necessary skill sets needed in order for them to work effectively, and clearly this is a problem (Collins, 2013). The specific problem (Lynton & Pareek, 2000) is that there is poor customer service among employees of Civilian Personnel Advisory Centers. Poor customer service is a problem that affects organizations and it is important for the problem to be resolved (Swartzlander, 2004). Poor decision making normally leads to poor organizational performance and the decision-making process is impacted by the skills and knowledge used to facilitate the decision-making process (Randall, 2003). Research problems normally tend to focus on examining specific problems of interest that form the basis for the research. The section that focuses on the problem statement for this research specifies the specific research problems that will be explored in this study. This study is a correlational study examining the relationships (if any) between organizational training in leadership, leadership skills, and the customer service performance of General Schedule personnel working in the military. Personnel performance, organizational training, and management leadership are the basis of the variables that will be examined. Variables tend to be different depending on the nature of the research (Creswe