THE USER/CONSUMER CONSTITUENCY
With the help of computer technology, customers are entering the internal business process [emphasis added] in unprecedented ways. Customer choices direct production. Customer feedback drives product development. Customer communication creates membership groups.
—Rosabeth Moss Kanter (1997:122)
THE HUMAN SERVICE ORGANIZATION
Theoretical analyses of formal organizations traditionally define the consumer or user constituency as being part of the task environment—that is, as being outside the formal organization and, therefore, outside the boundary of an internal organizational analysis. It is interesting to note that Mary Parker Follett (Graham 1995) does not refer to the users or consumers of the products of industrial production in her discussions of the principles of effective business management. In for-profit goods production organizations, it has been assumed that the relationship with the consumer is mediated by a marketplace exchange process that separates the production organization from any interactive involvement with an individual consumer. Thus the purchaser of an automobile is not directly involved in the production process of the automobile, and the producing organization has no involvement in the uses that the buyer makes of the automobile. It is also assumed, in a competitive free market situation, that consumers of such goods have a variety of choices available. Consumers can decide not to purchase a particular product if previous experience with the product, or the procedures through which it is made available, are unsatisfactory, or they may decide not to make any purchase.
However, the definition of the consumer constituency as being outside the organizational boundaries is now changing dramatically in business and industry. Competitive marketplace forces and the pressure to in-