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Total Quality Management and Internal Customers: Measuring Internal Service Quality

David W. Finn, Julie Baker, Greg W. Marshall and Roy Anderson
Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice
Vol. 4, No. 3, Total Quality Management (TQM) and Marketing (Summer, 1996), pp. 36-51
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40469807
Page Count: 16
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Total Quality Management and Internal Customers: Measuring Internal Service Quality
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Abstract

An important tenet of Total Quality Management holds that each employee should treat other organization members with whom s/he interacts as valued customers. To know if such internal service efforts are successful, managers need a means by which internal service quality can be measured. This exploratory study of internal customers employs marketing research methods that, traditionally, have been applied to final consumers. The setting is the corporate purchasing department of Alcon Laboratories, Inc., a large pharmaceutical manufacturing firm. The ninety-seven participants were all internal customers of the corporate purchasing department. Their jobs ranged from R& D scientists, to secretaries, to promotion specialists, to manufacturing planners. We sought answers to two questions: 1) What do internal users want from the purchasing department?; and 2) Do they think they are getting it? In answer to the first question, we found six types of service requirements of purchasing's internal customers. To answer the second question, we developed a diagnostic tool that measures internal users' perceptions of the purchasing department's performance. Managerial and research implications of the study are discussed.

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