In this study, the aim is to empirically examine the relationship between students' perceptions of themselves as customers of their university and their educational attitudes and behaviors. It also seeks to investigate the extent to which students' characteristics predict their involvement with education.
The authors obtained data by surveying 1,025 students from a medium‐sized university in the southern United States.
Consistent with exchange theory, students who perceived themselves as customers were more likely to feel entitled and to view complaining as beneficial. Satisfaction with their university, but not their perceptions of themselves as university customers, predicted educational involvement. Not surprisingly, students who were more involved in their education tended to be older, have higher grade point averages, and attend class more often. However, these students also felt more entitled to outcomes, although they did not differ in their perceptions of whether or not they were customers of the university.
Students who view themselves as customers are likely to hold attitudes and to engage in behaviors that are not conducive to success. However, if the aim is to increase student involvement, how the student's role is defined is less important than efforts to build student satisfaction with the university.
This is one of the first studies to examine empirically the prevalence and effects of student‐as‐customer perceptions. In addition, this study serves as a basis for better understanding the drivers of student involvement.
Gillespie Finney, T. and Zachary Finney, R. (2010), "Are students their universities' customers? An exploratory study", Education + Training, Vol. 52 No. 4, pp. 276-291. https://doi.org/10.1108/00400911011050954Download as .RIS
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