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Title: The current university focus: an emphasis on providing customer service over engagement?
Authors: Wardley, Leslie J.
Keywords: Customer service;Work design;Co-creation of value;Engagement;Student satisfaction;Institutional commitment;Personal growth
Issue Date: 19-Nov-2014
Abstract: Given the economic constraints placed on many higher education institutions, some universities have started to implement customer service orientation strategies in their marketing activities in order to solidify value exchange perceptions, differentiate themselves from their competitors and improve retention rates. However, the student as a ‘customer’ model can cause universities to start viewing students as sources of revenue, treat faculty as providers of a service and students can be cast in the role of consumer with students taking on many customer behaviours. If students are to get the most out of their academic experiences, they need to become meaningfully and psychologically involved in their studies. Using multiple steps and different statistical techniques, this thesis investigated the dangers of institutions of higher education viewing students as “customers” and the importance of getting students more involved in the co-creation of their university experiences through the use of two phases of research. The findings from Phase One offered new insight into some key areas that are emerging as meaningful such as: college transfer students’ problems with transitioning to university, the impact of helicopter parenting practices, students not finding their classes intellectually stimulating and issues created by not severing ties to prior support systems, among others. While the ensuing conceptual Student Engagement Work Design Model (SEWDM) and the empirical findings discovered as a result of the Phase Two testing provides a roadmap of how the engagement elements of autonomy, feedback, skill variety, task identity and customer services can be utilized by universities when attempting to predict institutional commitment and personal growth needs.These findings are important as information about which factors help to predict postsecondary student institutional commitment and personal growth needs can assist with the development of targeted student recruitment strategies and the development of support systems. Being able to assess these outcomes could help to reduce funding outlays to lower impact areas so synergies can be encouraged and resources can be concentrated on critical factors.
Appears in Collections:Doctoral Theses
Human Studies and Interdisiplinarity - Doctoral Theses

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