The purpose of this paper is to examine the role service quality, satisfaction and commitment play in word of mouth (WOM) formation among adult learners in Singapore.
The study used a quantitative survey of 165 adult students who were enrolled in part‐time undergraduate programmes at the Singapore Institute of Management, to examine the relationships of interest.
The impact service quality had on WOM formation was examined, with student satisfaction and commitment being modelled as mediators of this relationship. The results suggested functional service quality, rather than technical service quality, impacted on WOM formation, with student satisfaction playing an important mediating role. The study also showed that, although student satisfaction had a significant effect on both aspects of commitment (affective commitment and high‐sacrifice commitment), affective commitment led to WOM being given.
The study examined adult learners enrolled in part‐time undergraduate management programmes. Younger, full‐time students’ WOM may not be impacted in the same way.
Having a better understanding of WOM formation helps education institution managers focus on the “right” antecedents, which are functional service quality, satisfaction and affective commitment. The results also suggest broader responsibilities for such managers. If their goal is to increase student enrolments, in which WOM plays an important role, the management of student services is crucial and should be seen as a marketing tool, as well as an administrative process.
The relationships examined have not been investigated previously in an educational environment and the results suggest education managers need to understand them as they plays crucial roles in determining WOM, which plays a significant role in determining students’ educational preferences. If processes and strategies can be developed that improve service quality, satisfaction, commitment and WOM will all be positively influenced.
Teo, R. and Soutar, G.N. (2012), "Word of mouth antecedents in an educational context: a Singaporean study", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 26 No. 7, pp. 678-695. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513541211263746Download as .RIS
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