Higher education in terms of service
Attributes for Satisfaction of Students
Loyalty of Students
Hypothesis and model
Measurement of attributes and constructs
Process of analyses
Interpretations of results
The rested four hypotheses
The main motive of this paper is to study relation between Overall Satisfaction and Loyalty of Students towards Norwegian School of Hotel Management (NHS). The purpose of this study is also to seek how students think about the services provided by NHS and perceptions of students about these, then how these things influence the overall satisfaction of the students.
In this study, at first, the researcher intend to describe and explain why students perceive higher education as a service and how much it is important in general, especially within NHS. Then in the next step, in the theory part, it is to focus on the definitions, concepts of satisfaction and loyalty based on the empirical researches in the similar area. Afterwards, it measures the attributes of the satisfaction and loyalty, which is, student loyalty in relation to satisfaction of student. Finally, it presents the results of data analysis, discussion of the results and conclusion.
Higher education in terms of service
Education sector is growing rapidly, as now education is the basic of an individual (Helgesen & Nesset, 2007a). According to this empirical study, education sector is the second largest sector in the world after the health care. In recent years, in the universities and educational institutions, there has been a growth in providing educational services (Oldfield & Baron, 2000). Now a day, universities are in very energetic atmosphere (Helgesen & Nesset, 2007a), specialists working hard to provide alternative strategies to improve their quality services effectively and efficiently. In recent years, Norwegian universities and especially private schools did start showing interest in communication with their students (Helgesen & Nesset, 2007a).
Another study of same researchers in the same year, sows that student satisfaction has highest influence on student loyalty (Helgesen & Nesset, 2007b). From many theoretical and empirical researches, it is clear that loyalty of students depends on the first place from the overall satisfaction of students (Brown & Mazzarol, 2009). Moreover, it is very vital in order to increase the satisfaction and the loyalty, the management of the universities and colleges focus on the following variables: service quality, information and facilities as attributes for satisfaction of the students (Helgesen & Nesset, 2007a).
Higher education institutions are becoming increasingly businesslike, a shift that is transforming loyalty of students into important strategic goal for universities (Nesset & Helgesen, 2009). If we look at the marketing perspective, in Norway students are both consumers and customers. For instance, giving the educational services as products, which make the students satisfied as satisfied customers and loyal towards the institution. Norwegian institutions provide free education to everyone (Nesset & Helgesen, 2009), that disregards the social status and give everyone equal chance to get the educational services. Marketing strategies are very important for any organization to improve their products and services, in order to fulfil the customer need effectively (Nesset & Helgesen, 2009). Norwegian universities and private sectors use different means to advertise their products and services: for instance, in social media, TV, internet websites and so on.
Therefore, “Service” as very remarkable and significant theme, which is able to create a satisfactory educational institution for students in Norway, to get the better understanding to the Norwegian institutions, in terms of quality education, thus by this satisfaction, it creates loyal students towards the institutions.
The concept of satisfaction defined in different ways in the research (Helgesen & Nesset, 2007a, 2007b). Generally, the definition of the term “Satisfaction” is as pleasure, fulfillment and happiness of the accomplishment. According to (Oliver, 1997, 2010), satisfaction comes after consumption that needs to satisfy some goals or needs and brings a pleasure. Satisfaction has been defined as “Evaluation” of the perceived discrepancy between prior expectations” (Oliver, 1997, 2010). In an article in the year of 1999, Oliver, Richard. L also stated that satisfaction is the core concept for loyalty without satisfaction, there is no existence of loyalty (Oliver, 1999). It means satisfaction is the basic step; satisfaction does increase the loyalty, if the customers and consumers are satisfied and it automatically leads to be loyal towards the products or services.
In recent years, many studies show that satisfaction of students is increasing and now universities and colleges are more concerned about it (Lee, 2010). Student satisfaction is of compelling interest to colleges and universities as they seek to continually improve the learning environment for students, meet the expectations of their constituent groups and legislative bodies and demonstrate their institutional effectiveness (Athiyaman, 1997). Another definition by (Elliott & Healy, 2001), where they define student satisfaction as “a short-term attitude resulting from an evaluation of a student’s educational experience”. In addition, Kevin, E. M & Dooyoung, S, 2002, as cited in Elliott & Shin, 2002, demonstrate the satisfaction of students as ‘…subjective evaluation of various evaluation of a student…’ and experiences along with the education and campus life (Elliott & Shin, 2002).
Attributes for Satisfaction of Students
According to the above-mentioned researches, satisfaction of students has become an extremely important issue for the universities and colleges. A product offered to customers is a “bundle of goods and services” by Olsen & Wyckoff 1978, as cited in (Douglas, Douglas, & Barnes, 2006). Based on the previous empirical researches of (Douglas et al., 2006), we have considered and have identified the service product bundle as the attributes of Satisfaction of Students. According to the Douglas et al., 2006, this bundle consist of three attributes:
1) Physical elements- including facilitating goods and sustaining facilities
2) Explicit service- service that easily observable by the senses
3) Implicit service- psychological services
According to (Douglas et al., 2006), in the university case into the Facilitating goods include the lectures and textbooks, presentation slides, and complementary handout materials, while in sustaining facilities include computer rooms, class rooms, lecture theatres and catering. The Explicit Service involves the knowledge level of academic staff, academic staff teaching competence, making appropriate appointments with the academic and administrative staff, handle the subject content and workload (Douglas et al., 2006). The Implicit Service includes how effectively staff handle the students, how much the staff approachable to the students, friendliness of staff, response to individual issues of the students, respect their feelings and emotions, and show what is the best in interest of student (Douglas et al., 2006).
Loyalty of Students
According to above discussion, it is clear that without satisfaction, loyalty cannot be determined, (Oliver, 1999) also demonstrated same statement. According to Helgesen & Nesset, 2007a; Sauer & O’Donnell, 2006, as cited in (Nesset & Helgesen, 2009), student loyalty is becoming an increasingly important strategic theme for higher educational institutions. Several factors contribute to make loyalty as an important, in terms of offering higher education, such as increased student mobility and increased global competition (Nesset & Helgesen, 2009).
Researcher have perceived and defined the concept of loyalty in a number of different ways (Helgesen & Nesset, 2007b). Oliver 1999, defined, “…customer loyalty as a deeply held commitment to rebuy the preferred product/service consistently in the future…” (Oliver, 1999). Despite “…the fact that situational influences and marketing efforts having potential to cause switching behavior” p.392, (Oliver, 1997, 2010). Again, Lam et al. 2004, p. 294, cited in (Helgesen & Nesset, 2007b), mentions as “a buyers overall attachment or deep commitment to a product, service, brand, or organization”.
Oliver, 1999 introduced four phases of loyalty, cognitive, effective, conative and action loyalty. According to (Oliver, 1999), Cognitive loyalty: it is based on brand belief only and this stage directly deals with information attributes. It also includes, why customers prefer specific product on other product choice. Affective loyalty refers as a loyalty development phase, that emphasis on pleasure, fulfillment, mood, attitude, emotions, commitments, which remain in the mind of customers those similar to cognitive. Conative loyalty refers to the intention of rebuy the brand and in more akin to motivation. In other words this loyalty is developed when consumers willing to repurchase the specific product. The last stage of the model is Action loyalty, which characterizes the commitment to the action of rebuying (Oliver, 1999).
Hypothesis and model
This study is going to be leaded by a model apart from the attributes for the overall satisfaction of the students. Based on service product bundle according to (Douglas et al., 2006), in terms of higher education, we developed the attributes for overall satisfaction of students implicit, explicit, and facilities. Therefore, the proposed model, which we intend to test, that includes the attributes of overall satisfaction, overall satisfaction as and loyalty of students towards the NHS as constructs. The Figure-1 presents the proposed model and the hypothesized relationship.
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A number of studies and researches demonstrate that customer loyalty is perceived as main outcome of satisfaction (Bowen & Chen, 2001; Douglas et al., 2006; Helgesen, 2006; Helgesen & Nesset, 2007a, 2007b). It is clear by several researches of (Hallowell, 1996; Yang & Peterson, 2004) that satisfaction is able to increase loyalty and so doe’s loyalty too. Customer loyalty is supposed to have a positive impact (Anderson, Fornell, & Lehmann, 1994) on the performance of business units both at an aggregate level and at the individual level of customers and consumers (Helgesen, 2006; Helgesen & Nesset, 2007b). According to research of (Brown & Mazzarol, 2009), student as customer loyalty to a university is determined by the overall level satisfaction the student as customer or has with the institution, which influenced the overall educational service experiences provided by institution. Therefore, it is very significant to find the relationship between overall satisfaction and loyalty of students in an educational institution (Gronholdt, Martensen, & Kristensen, 2000).
It is again very important to find out the relationship between individual attribute of satisfaction and overall satisfaction (Bendall-Lyon & Powers, 2004; Helgesen & Nesset, 2007a), narrative service quality and facilities relate positively to overall satisfaction. Students perceptions of an educational institution’s facilities and the quality of services provided are among the antecedents most often used (Helgesen & Nesset, 2007b). Their study reported in his that student overall satisfaction and student loyalty are positively related to each other on significant level. Based on all the above-mentioned empirical researches, hypothesizes are as follows: H1: Overall Satisfaction of Students at NHS relates positively to Loyalty of Students. H2: Explicit Service provided by NHS relates positively to Overall Satisfaction of Students. H3: Implicit Service provided by NHS relates positively to Overall Satisfaction of Students. H4: There is positive relationship between Facilities provided by NHS and Overall Satisfaction of Students.
In order to measure overall satisfaction and loyalty level of the students at NHS, the researcher designed a quantitative survey. It is followed the questions in the questionnaire from the previous researches in the similar field by (Douglas et al., 2006; Helgesen & Nesset, 2007a, 2007b) and then subdivided according to the different categories of services like Explicit Service, Implicit Service and Facilities. Finally, the questionnaire investigated about the overall satisfaction of the students, whether, the students would recommend NHS to the prospective students or not. It farther asked the students if they would continue to utilize the services provided by NHS in the future and focused on studying here or not. There was a series of demographic questions in the questionnaire, which assist to segment the sample population, which included age, gender, level of study and nationalities. Participants participated anonymously and voluntarily.
The participants of the survey were almost all the bachelor and master students of the Hotel Management, Tourism Management and International Hotel and Tourism Leadership at NHS, which is a number of about 450 peoples. However, in practice the researcher could access to a part of it. The questionnaire was sent to 150 students. The study received the response from 107 who answered, where 71 percent of the total respondents were female students in NHS. The average age is 25 years, over 94 percent of them were fulltime students and bachelor students were 58 percent. Among the participants, about 40 percent had been experiencing study at NHS for one year and half and 54 percent of the students were Norwegians, the rest were other nationalities including European citizens.
Measurement of attributes and constructs
According to Szymanski & Henard, 2001, as cited in (Elliott & Shin, 2002), satisfaction is a complex concept of either aggregate (single-item) or attribute (multi-item) level of measurement. With a single-item, it is measurement of overall satisfaction of a service or product. On the other hand, with the multi-item, it is measurement of satisfaction with each individual attribute of the same product or service and then the combination of satisfaction evaluation into a final satisfaction score (Elliott & Shin, 2002). This study tried to do both approaches, measurement of student satisfaction with NHS and satisfaction with each individual attribute of services provided by the NHS. At the end, this study attempted to measure the construct of loyalty.
Based on the study of (Douglas et al., 2006; Helgesen & Nesset, 2007a, 2007b) and the above concept of satisfaction, this study measured the items of satisfaction and loyalty of students. In order to demonstrate face validity, 10 students volunteered for the pre-test of 47 items of the questionnaire. It was noted the length of time to complete the questionnaire and was noted down the students’ comments regarding the items. The author asked them if there was anything missing from the questionnaire or not anything was easy to understand. In addition, it was asked them about 5-points Likert scale, if that was appropriate to reflect feelings of the satisfaction to NHS. Then the researcher asked two professors for their expert opinions regarding the items, if it was necessary to improve or eliminate some items. Based on the feedbacks, the author modified the questionnaire by rewriting some, removing some and changing some. After the pre-test process, finally, this study selected 32 items for the Student Satisfaction Questionnaire (Appendix 1). Table-1 presents that there are seven items to measure two main constructs and there are 25 items to measure three attributes. A 5-point Likert-scale measured the indicators where ‘1’ indicated the least favorable response alternative (very unsatisfied) and ‘5’ indicated the most favorable response alternative (very satisfied).
- Quote paper
- Jobaire Alam (Author), 2015, A quantitative analysis of student satisfaction and loyalty in the Norwegian School of Hotel Management (NHS), University of Stavanger, Norway, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/320986