Customer Satisfaction in the Higher Education Industry
Abstract: Abstract Introduction: Understanding customer satisfaction is a central objective of organiza- tions. Besides, satisfaction is an indicator of how customers perceive the quality of an offered product or service. Relating to the literature, the customer satisfaction of interna- tional students has become increasingly important for higher educational institutions in recent years due to globalization and the development and distribution of the internet. Purpose: Educational institutions must recognize the importance of satisfied interna- tional students and understand how satisfaction arises. Thus, this thesis seeks to ex- plore the needs of international master students and knowledge about the indicators that are used to judge the service quality of educational units. Methodology: A mixed-method approach was used to obtain primary data from interna- tional master students at Lund University in Sweden. A pre-quantitative self-completion questionnaire was distributed in order to obtain a sample for the qualitative interview. Qualitative interviews were conducted to explore how the satisfaction of international master students arises. Findings: International master students base their expectations on personal recom- mendations, the university’s marketing communication and image, and previous experi- ences. In order to judge the service quality of the educational unit, indicators related to the composition of the class, the teaching style and content are explored. Dissatisfied students cope with their dissatisfaction by integrating factors such as the environment, culture, and lifestyle to remain satisfied overall. Originality and Value: This study contributes by investigating the perception of service quality related to the level of culture shock and by exploring the indicators used by in- ternational master students to judge educational service quality. The findings are of val- ue to managers of higher educational institutions as well as academic literature, by ex- amining the literature gap of how satisfaction arises in higher education.
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