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The idiosyncratic behaviour of service quality, value, satisfaction, and intention to recommend in higher education: An empirical examination

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Despite some dissenting voices, the marketisation of higher education in recent years has led to the need to consider how marketing concepts and business models that are central in traditional consumer markets can be applied in the educational context. One such concept that is held to be at the core of marketing is consumer value, which considers how consumers perceive the outcomes of their consumption experiences. Consequently, the functional relationships between service quality, value (disaggregated into the constituent dimensions of its give and get components), satisfaction and recommendation within the educational domain form the focus of this study. Service quality is treated as an antecedent of value, which in turn is a driver of satisfaction, the ultimate outcome of which is word of mouth recommendation. The idiosyncratic behaviour of the proposed functional relationships is tested in two cohorts of postgraduate students (MBA and specialist Masters). The data are analysed using Partial Least Squares. The impact of service quality on the formation of perceptions of value is confirmed for both cohorts. However, in relative terms the relationships are stronger for the specialist Masters cohort. At the same time, notable differences between the two cohorts are observed in the functional relationships between the dimensions of value and satisfaction. Although, collectively, the results are in line with extant value literature, they also indicate that contextual differences, even within a single domain, play an important role in the behaviour of the functional relationships.
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Keywords: WOM; consumer perceived value; satisfaction; service quality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Kingston University, UK 2: University of Macedonia, Greece

Publication date: 2011-10-01

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