|dc.description.abstract||New Zealand's tertiary education sector has experienced political reform, social changes, economic changes and globalisation in the last two decades, and the sector has become more internationally competitive. DeShields, Kara, and Kaynak (2005) recommended that management of higher education should apply a market-oriented approach to sustain a competitive advantage. Therefore, understanding and managing students' satisfaction and their perceptions of service quality is important for university management if they are to design and implement a market-oriented approach.
The purpose of this research is to gain an empirical understanding of students' overall satisfaction in a university in New Zealand's higher education sector. A hierarchal model is used as a framework for the analysis. Fifteen hypotheses are formulated and tested to identify the dimensions of service quality as perceived by university students, to examine the relationship between students' overall satisfaction with influential factors such as tuition fees (price) and the university's image, and to determine the impact of students' overall satisfaction on favourable future behavioural intentions. In addition, students' perceptions of these constructs are compared using demographic factors such as gender, age, and ethnicity.
The findings of the study are based on the analysis of a sample of 223 students studying at Lincoln University. Support is found for the use of a hierarchical model and the primary dimensions; Interaction Quality, Physical Environment Quality, and Outcome Quality, as broad dimensions of service quality. Ten sub-dimensions of service quality, as perceived by students, are identified. These are: Academic Staff, Administration Staff, Academic Staff Availability, Course Content, Library, Physically Appealing, Social Factors, Personal Development, Academic Development, and Career Opportunities. The results indicate that each of the primary dimensions vary in terms of their importance to overall perceived service quality, as do the sub-dimensions to the primary dimensions. In addition, the statistical results support a relationship between service quality and price; service quality, image, and satisfaction; and satisfaction and favourable future behavioural intentions. However, there is no statistical support for a relationship between price and satisfaction. The results also suggest that students' perceptions of the constructs are primarily influenced by their ethnicity and year of study.
The results of the analysis contribute to the service marketing theory by providing an empirically based insight into the satisfaction and service quality constructs in the New Zealand higher education sector. The study also provides an analytical framework for understanding the effects of the three primary dimensions on service quality and the effects of service quality on constructs including price, image, satisfaction, and favourable future behavioural intentions.
This study will assist management of higher education to develop and implement a market-oriented service strategy in order to achieve a high quality of service, enhance students' level of satisfaction and create favourable future behavioural intentions.||en