Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Patricia A. Lowry, PhD, Director; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD; Fred R. Bahr, DBA


case study, computer system value-added-resellers, customer training, evaluation, Leadership studies


The purpose of this study was to illustrate the use of naturalistic inquiry as an appropriate method for evaluating customer training. The study's scope was limited to computer system value-added-resellers (VARs). Four research questions were identified, each addressing the use of naturalistic inquiry in this setting. Case study methodology was selected as the most effective approach to demonstrate use of this type of evaluation. In order to limit the focus of the case study, the researcher identified three propositions. These propositions addressed the following: (1) the evolution of computer system VAR's customer training programs; (2) the merit and worth of customer training; (3) the background and education of customer trainers working in this environment. Research procedures included the selection of two sites, one for a pilot study and a second for the actual case study; collection of data; analysis of data; and drawing conclusions. At each site, the researcher performed a comprehensive evaluation of an ongoing customer training program. Qualitative data collection techniques were used, including interviewing, observation, and review of training materials and documentation. Stakeholders included company trainers, current trainees, past trainees, company management, and sales representatives. Qualitative data analysis included the collection of information, coding of data, categorizing the data, identifying patterns and trends, and drawing conclusions based on these patterns. Research findings suggested that naturalistic inquiry can be both effective and very practical an approach to evaluating customer training. This was evidenced by the researcher's ability to use this approach to support the study's propositions. Data was collected and analyzed using qualitative, naturalistic methods and provided a broad range of information that enabled the researcher to draw conclusions about the training program and make recommendations for its improvement.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access