Exploring private universities service quality in Kenya: A structural equation modeling technique
Keywords:Service quality, private university, satisfaction, HEdPERF, Kenya
The Kenyan private higher education sub-sector is considered one of the fastest rising and as such, pivotal within the economy. Whereas achieving higher service quality is challenging among private universities, it is not easy to come up with extraordinary service delivery deliverables which will fully entice customers. Therefore, a university has to discern their customers well, and in turn, provide superior services in order to achieve significant customer satisfaction. The aim of the present research was to empirically investigate specific dimensions of service quality (SQ) that influence customer satisfaction with, service delivery in private universities and the consequent contribution towards internal customers' satisfaction in a Kenyan context. One aspect emphasized is taking cognizant dimensions tested in intricate situations as well as the reality in a developing country which in itself is self-contradictory.
The study employed an adapted HEdPERF survey type with higher education service quality attributes namely; non-academic, academic, reputation, access, programme issues and understanding aspects, and structural equation modelling (SEM). The fit of the HEdPERF model to the data gained through stratified random sampling from 'internal customers' - students and employees was checked using SEM. Results claimed that in respect to private higher education, not all HEdPERF SQ variables are significant to internal customers. Two dimensions of SQ were identified and have the greatest predictive power on internal customers' satisfaction ratings with regard to the quality of service, and these were presented in model(s) to indicate their inter-relatedness in terms of service quality and customer satisfaction. This research presents significant insights towards better understanding of internal customers' attitudes. Private universities will be able to design and improve their internal services and/or internal marketing strategies as per their consumers' preferences in a different cultural context. Finally, the use of SEM in exploring the HEdPERF model is also a valuable contribution.
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