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Transformational training programs,
employee loyalty and quality orientation of employees have been some of the
important concerns of both academicians and practitioners since decades. Yet, a
little is known about their underlying relationship dynamics, especially in the
context of higher education institutions. The pivotal aim of this study was to investigate
the interplay of transformational training programs, employee loyalty and
quality orientation.  For this, a causal
model demonstrating the direct and indirect relationships of transformational
training programs, employee loyalty and quality orientation was built and
tested.  Data for this study was
collected from 212 (n = 212) academicians (deans, head of departments and
faculty members) from all private sector universities in Amman, Jordan, through
a cross sectional survey. Results indicated that both, the direct and indirect
effects of transformational training programs on quality orientation of
employees were significant. More specifically, the positive effects that
transformational training programs have on quality orientation of employees are
though employee loyalty. This finding significantly advances existing body of
knowledge by implying that transformational training programs enhance employees’
loyalty which, in turn, escalates employees’ orientations towards quality.
Hence, it is concluded that the objective of inculcating quality orientation
amongst employees cannot be achieved with a mere reliance upon transformational
training programs. Several other contextual factors, such as employee loyalty,
should also be focused and fostered to endure the effects of training programs on
certain desirable outcomes.

 

Key
Words: Transformational Training Programs
-TTP, Quality Orientation of Employees-QOE, Employee loyalty-EL, Universities, Jordan.

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Introduction

In today’s highly dynamic and competitive
environment, ‘quality orientation’ has emerged as an important concern for the
organizations. Therefore, every organization, despite of its nature and scale
of operations, strives hard to address the very concern as it is perceived as a
‘mantra’ of ultimate survival in ruthless competition. This is why, researchers
and practitioners have given considerable attention to understand this
phenomenon. Quality orientation refers to a set of attitudes and behaviors that
affect the quality of the interaction between the staff of any organization and
its customers and commitment to continuous improvement in the delivery of
customer perceived quality and ultimately in the achievement of customer
satisfaction 1. However, as a management practice, it points to
the conscious efforts of an organization towards achieving the high levels of
service quality and customer satisfaction. That is why quality orientation
plays a fundamental role in  improving
service delivery and fostering service excellence and customer satisfaction 2. Given this, quality orientation has been labeled
as a key strategic resource for an improved organizational performance 3. Researchers opine that high-quality orientation
coupled with systematically planning and monitoring offers several benefits.
For instance, increased productivity and amplified organizational performance 4. That is why, organizations have embraced
‘quality orientation’ as an integral element of their business philosophy3.

Quality orientation is not only an issue of
manufacturing concerns, but also an important concern for the managers of service
sector organizations.  Scholars recognize
the importance of quality orientation for service sector organizations.
According to them, quality orientation is an important tool to achieve
competitive advantage, yet it  remains one
of the least researched topics, especially in the service sector5. Service sector, by and large, capitalize upon
its human resource to achieve and sustain the competitive advantage. Review of literature
reveals that the knowledge and skill sets of an organization’s employees are
key to its performance, competitiveness, and advancement. Therefore, firms can
develop and enhance the quality of their human resource through appropriate trainings
and development initiatives 6. However, the training programs that are
consistent with employees’ needs, organizational goals, and  business strategy tend to be more successful
than those that are not 7. Studies indicate that effective training
programs have significant positive effect on employee satisfaction and loyalty 8, which are some of the essential ingredients for a
superior service quality and organizational success 9,10.

A critical review of  emerging body of literature on ‘quality
orientation’ reveals that no attempt has yet been made to ascertain whether or
not,  the transformational training programs
enhance quality orientation of employees, if yes, how? And what role does
employee loyalty play in this nexus? Given this, the prime objective of this
study is to fill this knowledge gap by investigating the relationship dynamics
of transformational training programs, employees’ loyalty and quality
orientation.

Literature
Review and Conceptual Framework

Transformational
Training Programs (TTP)

Training is a content-based activity, generally away
from the workplace with a coach leading and aiming to modify a person’s behavior or
attitude 11.  training
programs can be defined as “planned efforts that are aimed at increasing the individual skills 6. Training programs are also referred
to as systematic processes of
changing the behavior of employees towards achieving the organization’s goals13. Trainings are vital for the oragnizations as they are a source of
increasing the inteleccual capital
and escalating workplace commitment 12 . On the other hand, transformational training programs are bit different. The
objective of transformational training programs is not to change individual behaviors, but to change the
way the learner thinks about the new knowledge or skills. Platora of empirical evidences are
available on the consequences of trainings. McFarlane in his study, investigated the consequences of
training programs by exploring the
trainees’ reactions towards trainings’: goals, content, material, trainers, environment, training process and trainees’ acquired knowledge & skill sets. He concludes that all these factors play
very important role in determininig the perceived
usefulness of any trainiing14. Another study concludes that training
programs equip trainees with a
determined level of knowledge and skills and shape their behaviors or actions to a
desired level 15. Alawneh   summarized the importance of several contextual factors in determining training transfer 16. A worth mentioning study here is of Kirkpatrick. He
identified four levels of training evaluation
namely: reaction criteria, learning criteria,
behavior criteria, and results criteria 17;

(1)  Reaction criteria:
reaction criteria are the trainees’ perceptions of the training program in
organizations 17. In higher education institutions, the reaction of participants is judged
through self-reporting. This method asks trainees
to report the advantages and disadvantages of training
programs 18. Such criteria is widely used because of the ease of
collection 19.    

(2)
 Learning criteria:
learning criteria in higher education institutions is
assessed through learning outcome and is evaluated determined by conducting several
tests to measure the performance, presentation, and demonstration of  skills learned during a training 20. A variety of assessment techniques such as speeches and writing samples can be used to assess learning 21.

(3)
 Behavioral criteria:
Behavioral criteria measures the performance of trainees on their actual jobs 22. In higher
education institutes, behavioral criteria are usualy based
on performance indicators, such as work related
outcome. Application of skills and knowledge gained from
the training programs  in research
projects is an example of behavioral criteria in higher
education institutions 23.

(4)  Results criteria: results
criteria in organizational settings are measured through different benchmarks such as efficiency,  productivity and profitability 23. The results
criteria in higher education is measured by
assessing the competence level of students 24.

Employee Loyalty (EL)

Loyalty is a two-way path. If an organization
desires its employees to be loyal, they must earn it by creating a stable
and challenging workplace 25. Scholars opine
that loyalty is an emotional assure of an employee’s
ambition to involve and remain determinedly constant and responsible with an organization 26. Reserachers hold different views about loyalty. For some, employee
loyalty is as an action-oriented approach wihich deals with the behavior of employees 27. And for others, it is the commitment that
employees have for their organizations 28. Martensen and
Grønholdt 29 note that the fundamental principle underlying the concept of
employee loyalty is emotional attachment 30. However, some
of the reseachers are of the view that loyalty may be determined with the
help of two approaches: the attitudinal
approach, and the behavioral approach. From attitudinal perspective, loyalty refers to an individual’s psychological inclination, feeling, identification, attachment or
commitment to the organization 31,
32  However, due to the cognitive nature
of attitudinal approach , it is hard to accurately measure it 31,  33, 34. 
Whereas, the behavioral approach views
loyalty as an observable phenomenon which is obvious and can be easily materialized in the context of  employee-organization
relationship 35, 36. Researchers
also explain that the employee loyalty is the major driving force
behind a sustainable developing organization 37, 38.

 

Cook 39,  advanced the body of knowledge on loyalty by
introducing a taxanomy of employee loyalty. According to him,  employee loyalty can be categorized either
active or passive. First refers to the subjective feelings and desires of
employees to stay with an organization. Such sujective feelings & desire
arise when employees feel that the organizational goals are congruent with
their individual goals. Whereas, passive loyalty is a that state of mind  or phenomemon whien amployees are actually
dissatidfied from the organizationa but they donont want to leave organization
just because of some  lucrative benefits
that they get (e.g: high wages). If these conditions, due to some reasons
disappear, employees no longer remain loyal to their organizations. Meschke40  furthered Cook’s taxonomy by coining a term of
‘tripartite employee loyalty’. According to Meschke, loyalty revolves round
three objects: supervisor, working group, and the organization. These objects should
be kept in view while  investigating the outcomes
of employee loyalty . However, an employees loyalty towards different reference
objects may conflict with each other 41. This point is conceivable
because employees cannot display the same loyalty towards their supervisor,
working group, and organization at the same time. Rather, it is likely that the
loyalty towards one or more of the reference objects has an impact on selected
outcomes such as the openness to leave, openness to reapply, and openness to
change. Therefore, in order to address this issue, a valid and reliable measure
of employee loyalty is inevitable 40.

Quality
Orientation of Employees (QOE)

Quality orientation, as a construct is
dynamic and abstract  in nature. There
exist two perspectives on QOE. First perspective view its as a ‘ business
philosophy’, whereas, the latter considers it as a ‘managerial prcatice’.
Depite of their differences, both perspectives view QOE as an essential
ingredient of organizational success. Propoenets of f irst perspective argue
that quality-oriented firms manage and control internal processes to provide
quality products and services to the customers which ultimately contributes to
organizational success 41. Perhaps, this is why,
quality orientation  has become an
emerging business philosophy because it helps to achieve and sustain competitive
advantage 42. Quality orientation
presents a philosophical commitment of an organization to developing and
maintaining a sustainable quality-based competitive advantage leading to
increased business performance43. Dahlgaard & Mi
Dahlgaard-Park  explored the aim of this philosophy and found
that it can change the organizational culture from  passive and defensive to a proactive and open
culture with an open participation of every organizational member 44. Therefore,
it is essential to formulate quality orientation philosophy at the time when
organizations begin to look up for competitive superiority through customer
satisfaction with quality products & services 43.

 The latter 
perspective, on the other hand,  define 
quality orientation as a managerial practice as well as an employee
behavior which is oriented towards achieving a high level of service quality
and customer satisfaction 5. This perpective stresses that
quality orientation plays a fundamental role in service delivery, and that high
level of quality orientation behaviors foster service excellence and customer
satisfaction 3. 

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