Date Approved

7-27-1997

Embargo Period

8-30-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Public Relations

Department

Public Relations & Advertising

College

College of Communication & Creative Arts

First Advisor

Bagin, Don

Subject(s)

Sears, Roebuck and Company; Employee empowerment

Disciplines

Public Relations and Advertising

Abstract

This study analyzed and compared the results of two surveys. The first survey of 40 empowered employees was conducted at the Sears department store in Deptford, New Jersey. The second survey of 40 empowered employees was conducted at the Sears department store in Alexandria, Virginia.

Both surveys tried to determine if being empowered helped employees feel valued by the company. The surveys also tried to determine if being empowered helped employees improve customer service and if managers upheld their obligations to let employees solve customer problems.

The survey results showed that empowered employees at both stores felt they were better able to solve customers' problems by being empowered. However, the results also showed that employees still needed approval from managers for decisions to resolve a customer's problem. The employees at the Deptford store felt less valued by the company after being empowered.

The managers of the respondents in the Sears Alexandria, Virginia store followed the same pattern as the managers at the Deptford store six years earlier. Even though employees overwhelmingly felt customers seemed satisfied with the service provided, employees still needed managerial approval to solve customers' problems. Only half of the respondents felt Sears valued them as employees.

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