Dealer principals' perception of factors that promote employee engagement in the South African motor industry

Kable, Warren Peter
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ABSTRACT The South African passenger vehicle market is becoming increasingly competitive. Market players are no longer able to depend on their products alone, for the market has been saturated with a variety of high quality products, with manufacturing organisations pressured to find alternate methods to create a competitive edge. Previous research has proven the impact of customer loyalty on organisational profitability, with customer satisfaction viewed as a key factor in creating customer loyalty, and where the level of service quality provision is also critical. The challenges within the South African motor industry require dealerships to deliver great customer service in order to maintain competitive. In order to deliver these high levels of customer service, management need to ensure that the employees are highly engaged. Theorists and practitioners alike concur that engaged employees are more likely to deliver a good quality of service. This research involved a qualitative study on a sample of dealer principals who were currently active within the motor industry. The individuals were selected based on the customer satisfaction scores of the dealerships they lead, with the sample represented being a group of dealerships who had sustained comparatively high levels of customer satisfaction results for a chosen period. The respondents were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide, with the qualitative verbal data subsequently being thematically analysed. Respondents specifically provided feedback on what they felt were the most significant contributing factors to employee engagement within a motor dealership setting. They were furthermore also asked to rank order a set of predetermined factors, based on those factors postulated in the literature as leading to employee engagement, in order to establish the factors‟ relative importance. Thematic analysis of the data revealed results consistent with previous literature and research in the realm of employee engagement, arising from which a clear ranking of factors was tabled and a basic conceptual model was developed. The findings from the research provide a set of key factors and their relative importance in contributing to employee engagement levels in the motor dealership industry specifically. Furthermore, the conceptual model represents a set of priorities which can be used by practitioner managers in the industry, as well as guide further theoretical refinements useful to further employee engagement research
MBA Thesis 2014
Automobile industry and trade, Customer services, Employee motivation .