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  • UNIVERSITY STUDENT

    SATISFACTION:

    AN EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS

    A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment

    of the requirements for the

    Degree of Master of Commerce and Management

    at

    Lincoln University

    by

    Tzu-Hui Kao

    Lincoln University

    2007

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    Abstract of a thesis sublnitted in partial fulfilhnent of the requirement

    for the Degree of M. c. M.

    UNIVERSITY STUDENT SATISFACTION:

    AN EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS by Tzu-Hui Kao

    New Zealand's tertiary education sector has experienced political refolID, 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 nlodel 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 per~eived by

    - 11 -

  • students, are identified. These are: AcadeInic Staff, Administration Staff, AcadeInic Staff

    Availability, Course Content, Library, Physically Appealing, Social Factors, Personal

    Development, Academic Development, and Career Opportunities. The results indicate that

    each of the priInary dimensions vary in tenns of their importance to overall perceived service

    quality, as do the sub-dimensions to the plimary dimensions. In addition, the statistical results

    support a relationship between service quality and price; service quality, iInage, and "',-'-''..-1 .. _"'-.... ~ ... ~ .. ; ... :f'-: ... ___ .... -.. :i

    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.

    - - ------"".-.,".:-

  • Acknowledgements This thesis reflects the contributions and support of many people. First and fOrelTIOst, I would

    like to gratefully acknowledge the input, support and guidance from my main supervisor Mr.

    Michael D. Clemes. His patience, flexibility, energy, and insightful discussions were

    invaluable. Thank you to n1y associate supervisor, Dr. Christopher Gan, who provided .. "--.. - .. '"-.'-1

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    valuable perspectives and guidance on this research at key times.

    To my parents for their moral and financial support and their continuing encouragement

    throughout the hard times when I was staying away from home, I am much appreciative. My

    deep appreciation goes to Auntie Sarah, who provided much support throughout the years that

    I studied in New Zealand. To my family, a sincere thank you for all of their support and

    encouragement during my studies.

    Finally, my special thanks go to all the individuals and postgraduate fellows in the Commerce

    Division. Their willingness to help and give advice on this research was much appreciated. I

    also greatly appreciate the support of the lecturing staff at Lincoln University who helped me

    distribute my questionnaire during their lecture periods.

    - iv-

  • -i

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  • , 2.6 Service Quality/Satisfaction Studies in Higher Education Sector 2.6.1 North Amelica 2.6.2 Europe 2.6.3 Australasia 2.6.4 Cross-country

    2.7 Constructs Related to Service Quality 2.7.1 Relationship between Satisfaction and Service Quality 2.7.2 Price 2.7.3 Image

    21 22 24 25 27 28 28 30 31

    2.7.4 Behavioural Intentions related to Service Quality and Satisfaction 32 2.8 Chapter Summary 33

    Chapter 3: Research Model and Hypotheses 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Conceptual Gaps 3.3 Hypotheses Development

    3.3.1 Hypotheses Relating to Research Objective 1 3.3.2 Hypotheses Relating to Research Objective 2 3.3.3 Hypotheses Relating to Research Objective 3 3.3.4 Hypotheses Relating to Research Objective 4 3.3.5 Hypotheses Relating to Research Objective 5

    3.4 Chapter Summary

    Chapter 4: Research Design and Methodology 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Sample Derivation 4.3 Sample Size 4.4 Method of Data Collection 4.5 Questionnaire Design

    4.5.1 Construct Operationalisation 4.5.2 Design and Layout of the Survey Instrument 4.5.3 Pre-testing Procedures

    4.6 Data Analysis Techniques 4.6.1 Factor Analysis

    4.6.1.1 Modes of Factor Analysis 4.6.1.2 Types of Factor Analysis 4.6.1.3 Assumptions for Factor Analysis 4.6.1.4 Tests for Determining Appropriateness of Factor Analysis

    - VI-

    34

    34 34 36 37 39 40

    40

    41 41

    42 42 42 43 43 44

    44 45 46 47 47 48 48 49 50

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    4.6.1.5 Factor Extraction in Principal COlnponents Analysis 4.6.1.6 Factor Rotation 4.6.1.7 Interpretation of Factors

    4.6.2 Summated Scale 4.6.2.1 Content Validity 4.6.2.2 Dimensionality 4.6.2.3 Reliability

    4.6.3 Multiple Regression Analysis 4.6.4 Analysis of variance (ANOVA) 4.6.5 Statistical Assumptions for Multiple Regression and Analysis of

    Variance 4.6.5.1 Outliers 4.6.5.2 Multicollinearity 4.6.5.3 Linearity 4.6.5.4 Error Term Normality 4.6.5.5 Error Term Independence 4.6.5.6 Error Term Homoscedasticity

    4.7 Chapter Summary

    Chapter 5: Results and Discussion 5.1 Introduction 5.2 Sample and Response Rates

    5.2.1 Non-response Bias 5.2.1.1 Early/Late Responses 5.2.1.2 Item Non-Responses

    5.3 Descriptive Statistics 5.4 Assessment for Factor Analysis

    5.4.1 Statistical Assumptions for Factor Analysis 5.4 .1.1 Examination of the Correlation Matrix 5.4.1.2 Inspection of Anti-Image Correlation Matrix 5.4.1.3 Barlett's Test of Sphericity 5.4.1.4 Kaiser-Oeyor-Olkin measure of Sample Adequacy, MSA

    5.4.2 Factor Analysis Results 5.4.2.1 Latent Root Criterion 5.4.2.2 Scree Test Criterion 5.4.2.3 Factor Rotation 5.4.2.4 Interpretation of Factors

    - Vll-

    52 53 55 56 56 56 56 57 57 58

    59 60 61 62 62 63 64

    65 65 65 65 65 66 67 68 68 68 69 69 69 69 69 70 70 71

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    5.4.3 Suml11ated Scale 5.4.3.1 Content Validity 5.4.3.2 Dil11ensionality 5.4.3.3 Reliability

    5.5 Assessment of Multiple Regression Analysis and ANOVA 5.5.1 Assumptions for Multiple Regression Analysis and ANOVA

    5.5.1.1 Outliers 5.5.1.2 Multicollinearity 5.5.1.3 Linearity 5.5.1.4 Nonnality

    71 71 72 72 74 74 75 75 75 76

    5.5.1.5 Independence 76 5.5.1.6 Homoscedasticity 76

    5.5.2 Results Pertaining to Research Objective 1 (Hypothesis 1 through 77 6)

    5.5.2.1 Hypothesis 1 77 5.5.2.2 Hypothesis 2 78 5.5.2.3 Hypothesis 3 79 5.5.2.4 Hypotheses 4 through 6, and 10 80 5.5.2.5 Discussion Regarding to Research Objective 1 80

    5.5.3 Results Pertaining to Research Objective 2 (Hypothesis 7 through 81 11)

    5.5.3.1 Hypothesis 8 81 5.5.3.2 Hypothesis 7, 9, and 11 82 5.5.3.3 Discussion Regarding to Research Objective 2

    5.5.4 Results Pertaining to Research Objective 3 (Hypothesis 12 and 13)

    5.5.4.1 Hypothesis 12 5.5.4.2 Hypothesis 13 5.5.4.3 Discussion Regarding to Research Objective 3

    5.5.5 Results Pertaining to Research Objective 4 (Hypothesis 14) 5.5.5.1 Hypothesis 14 5.5.5.2 Discussion Regarding to Research Objective 4

    5.5.6 Results Pertaining to Research Objective 5 (Hypothesis 15) 5.5.6.1 Hypothesis 15 a 5.5.6.2 Hypothesis 15 b 5.5.6.3 Hypothesis 15 c 5.5.6.4 Discussion Regarding to Research Objective 5

    5.6 Chapter Summary

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    83 83

    83 84 85 85 85 85 87 87 88 89 90 90

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    Chapter 6: Conclusions and Implications 6.1 Introduction 6.2 Sumlnary of the Study 6.3 Conclusions Pertaining to Research Objective 1 6.4 Conclusions Pertaining to Research Objective 2 6.5 Conclusions Pertaining to Research Objective 3 6.6 Conclusions Pertaining to Research Objective 4 6.7 Conclusions Pertaining to Research Objective 5 6.8 Contributions

    6.8.1 Theoretical Implications 6.8.2 Managerial Implications

    6.9 Litnitations 6.10 Avenues for Future Research

    References

    Appendices Appendix 1: Cover letter

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