Managing service quality in higher education: the role of the student as primary consumer
Discusses aspects of current service quality theory in the context of British higher education (HE). Focuses on the role of the student as primary consumer of HE services (a relatively recent conceptualization in this country), and the implications of this for the management of service quality in higher education organizations (HEOs). Briefly discusses an exploratory study which has monitored a group of students' expectations and perceptions of service quality over time. Because of its limited scope, the findings of this study may not be generalized to the student population as a whole. However, it does serve to highlight the need for HEOs to gather information on students' expectations, not only during their time at university, but at the point of arrival and before, to manage students' expectations from enrolment through to graduation, in order to align them as closely as possible with what can be delivered by way of service quality, for the student evaluation process, or upward appraisal to be dealt with in a much more detailed, comprehensive and multi-focused way than tends to be the case currently at many British universities. Acknowledges the need for further research to investigate all of these matters.
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