An exploratory study on the quality of service in the public sector in Tonga

Eke, Aisake Valu (2013) An exploratory study on the quality of service in the public sector in Tonga. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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The Government of Tonga embarked for the first time in a public sector reform program starting in 2001 with the objective, among others,to improve the quality of service delivery to the public.This was the government’s response to address the growing concerns from the public and the media over the integrity and quality of the overall public services, and relating in some instances with alleged malpractices and corruptions in the government’s ministries, including the Ministry of Revenue Service (MRS). The quality of the service delivery of MRS was expected to be improved greatly as a result of the public sector reform program in providing a holistic approach to developing the capacity, and modernisation of the processes in the operations, of the organisation. Eleven years have lapsed from the implementation of the public sector reform program. This research has assessed the level of expectation and perception of external customers over the quality of the service delivery of the government, focussing on the performance of MRS.

The analysis has identified notable critical gaps between the level of expectation and level of perception of customers for the factors of service dimensions in the customer service of MRS. This research used MRS as the case study, and conducted field work through questionnaire survey, with 92 participants responded, and a follow up interview with 22 interviewees to clarify their responses to the survey. The field work focused on the three principal external customer sub-groups of MRS, which are: individual customers, business customers and government department customers, and they are also importers and taxpayers interacting with MRS on an on-going basis.

The research findings have shown that all three customer group overalls rated a high level of expectation over the service of MRS. They have also indicated that the level of perception over the service of MRS was lower than the level of expectation, revealing gaps in most of the factors of
service dimensions. In addition, there were no significant differences existed in the expected level and perceived level of the service of MRS among the three customer groups’ overalls, and within the three customer sub-groups. These results indicate the consistency of rating across the
levels of expectation and perception in all customer groups’ overalls and within three customer sub-groups. However, there were significant differences observed in the expected level within the three customer sub-groups in the customer group overall interacting with MRS within 10 years, showing customers different levels of expectations on the ability of the public sector reform to deliver its goal of providing quality service with efficiency. There were also significant differences in the perceived level of the service of MRS within three customer sub-groups in the
aggregate customer group overall. These differences in customers’ perceptions reflect their different experiences with the performance of MRS. There were further significant differences found between the expected performance level and perceived performance level of MRS
customer services in all categories of customer groups’ overalls, and also within all customer sub-groups indicating critical performance gaps. Moreover, significant differences were shown up between the expected level and perceived level for all twenty two factors of service dimensions for MRS customer service in all categories of customer groups overalls and within customer subgroups. In terms of critical gaps there were nineteen critical gaps identified out of twenty two factors of service dimensions altogether across all customer group overalls. These critical gaps indicate the serious concerns of the customers with almost all aspects of the service of MRS. These critical gaps are clustered into the five broad service dimensions. The highest performance gaps were associated with reliability of MRS performance with five critical factors, followed by responsive and empathy with four critical factors each, and then assurance and tangible with three critical factors each. MRS has to address as top priority the serious concern with the reliability of its customer service.

The research concludes that there are significant differences existed between the level of expectations and level of perceptions of customers over the factors of service dimension of the MRS performance. These critical gaps need to be eliminated or reduced so as to improve the quality of the current customer service and its credibility to, and relation with, the public at large. The results of the research reveal that the public sector reform has somewhat failed to meet the high expectation on its objective to deliver a better customer service. Actually, the customer service of MRS has been weighed and found wanting. MRS has therefore had to devise a strategy as a matter of urgency to address the customers prevailing low perception over its customer service.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) (Research) thesis.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - No Department
Supervisors: Al-Hakim, Latif
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 01:57
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2016 01:57
Uncontrolled Keywords: Government, Tonga, customer service, modernisation, research critical
Fields of Research : 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1599 Other Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 159999 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services not elsewhere classified

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