Master's Theses


Communication Studies

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of this study was designed to examine how rhetorical sensitivity affects customer satisfaction in retail environments. The theory of rhetorical sensitivity was examined concerning how the customer service employee's level of rhetorical sensitivity affects customer satisfaction was researched. The Rhetsen instrument was administered to 21 customer service employees of Wal*Mart Stores, Incorporated and 184 Rhetorical Sensitivity Customer Satisfaction (RSCS) customer satisfaction surveys were administered to customers of Wal*Mart Stores, Incorporated to determine if communication styles of the customer service employee affected the customer's satisfaction level. Demographic classifications including age, years of employment in the retail industry, years of employment with Wal*Mart Stores, Incorporated, and years of experience working at the customer service desk were examined. ANOVA and multiple regression analyses were calculated to determine significant results. The results of the research revealed that rhetorical sensitivity does not have a significant impact on customer satisfaction. However, years of employment with Wal*Mart Stores, Incorporated did impact the employee's "noble self" factor, a sub-scale in the Rhetsen instrument. The researcher concluded that Wal*Mart Stores, Incorporated could benefit by providing additional communication skills training to new and long-term employees.


Willis M. Watt

Date of Award

Spring 1997

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1997 L. Andrew Stanton


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