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Article
Publication date: 24 April 2009

Roediger Voss

This paper seeks to explore satisfactory and unsatisfactory classroom (student‐lecturer) encounters in higher education from a student's perspective.

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1496

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore satisfactory and unsatisfactory classroom (student‐lecturer) encounters in higher education from a student's perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

The critical incident technique (CIT) is used to categorise positive and negative student‐lecturer interactions, to reveal quality dimensions of the lecturer, and to reconsider which attributes of the lecturer are likely to cause satisfaction and which dimensions mainly lead to dissatisfaction. The study took place at a large commercial college. A total of 225 students took part in the study on a voluntary basis and reported 429 incidents. Respondents were aged between 16 and 21 years (mean age = 17.8). On average, every student provided 1.9 incidents.

Findings

The results of the CIT study manifested nine quality dimensions of lecturer behaviour, confirming previous research in this area. Quality dimensions that were mainly mentioned in the negative incidents were classified as “dissatisfiers” (“expertise”, “communication skills”, “fairness”, “assertiveness”, and “enthusiasm”), attributes that appeared in the positive incidents were labelled “satisfiers” (“flexibility”), and dimensions with a high score for both positive and incidents were described as “criticals” (“teaching skills”, “empathy”, “friendliness”).

Research limitations/implications

Owing to the exploratory nature of the study and the scope and size of its student sample, the results outlined are tentative in nature. The research study also only investigates the expectations and perceptions of one stakeholder group.

Practical implications

For instructors to improve students' experiences, they should address the identified “criticals” first before moving on to improving the “dissatisfiers” and then the “satisfiers”. Gaining knowledge of (deviations of) student expectations should be beneficial for lecturers to design their teaching programmes. Based on the results, colleges might consider the introduction of student contracts or student satisfaction guarantees to manage student expectations effectively.

Originality/value

The study shows that the CIT method is a beneficial tool for exploring classroom encounters in higher education. The paper has hopefully opened up an area of research and methodology that could reap further substantial benefits for researchers interested in this area.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2008

Thorsten Gruber, Alexander Reppel, Isabelle Szmigin and Roediger Voss

The purpose of this paper is to focus on complaint satisfaction with a particular emphasis on the qualities and behaviours that affect customers during personal complaint…

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3321

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on complaint satisfaction with a particular emphasis on the qualities and behaviours that affect customers during personal complaint handling encounters.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a literature review of complaint satisfaction and the role of customer contact employees in complaint encounters, an exploratory study using both the laddering interviewing technique and Kano questionnaires is presented.

Findings

The laddering results indicate that being taken seriously in the complaint encounter and the employee's friendliness, listening skills and competence are particularly important. The fact that interpersonal factors are highly regarded indicates that customers want to satisfy these process needs first and their outcome expectations second. The Kano results show that employees' active listening skills are the only must‐be requirements while the two concepts “Apology” and “Respectful Treatment” are close to being must‐be criteria. In addition, the employee's feedback after the complaint handling encounter can almost be categorized as an excitement factor.

Research limitations/implications

Owing to the exploratory nature of the study and the scope and size of the chosen sample, the results outlined are tentative in nature.

Originality/value

By combing two research methods, this paper develops an area of research that could reap considerable benefits for researchers interested in the area of customer complaint satisfaction.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2010

Roediger Voss, Thorsten Gruber and Alexander Reppel

This paper aims to explore satisfactory and dissatisfactory student‐professor encounters in higher education from a student's perspective. The critical incident technique…

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1674

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore satisfactory and dissatisfactory student‐professor encounters in higher education from a student's perspective. The critical incident technique (CIT) is used to categorise positive and negative student‐professor interactions and to reveal quality dimensions of professors.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory study using an online application of the well‐established CIT method was conducted. The study took place at a large European university. A total of 96 students took part in the study on a voluntary basis and reported 164 incidents. Respondents were aged between 19 and 24 years (x=23.2) and slightly more female students (52 per cent) filled in the online CIT questionnaire than male students (48 per cent). On average, every student provided 1.7 incidents.

Findings

The results of the critical incident sorting process support previous classification systems that used three major groups to thoroughly represent the domain of (un)satisfactory student‐professor encounters. The results of the CIT study also revealed ten quality dimensions of professors, corroborating previous research in this area.

Research limitations/implications

Owing to the exploratory nature of the study and the scope and size of its student sample, the results outlined are tentative in nature. The research study also only investigates the experiences of one stakeholder group.

Practical implications

Gaining knowledge of students' classroom experiences should be beneficial for professors to design their teaching programmes. Based on the results, universities might consider the introduction of student contracts or student satisfaction guarantees to manage student expectations effectively.

Originality/value

The paper was the first to successfully apply an online version of the CIT techniques to the issue of higher education services. This paper shows that the CIT method is a useful tool for exploring student‐professor encounters in higher education. The paper has hopefully opened up an area of research and methodology that could reap considerable further benefits for researchers interested in this area.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 24 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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Article
Publication date: 11 September 2009

Thorsten Gruber, Isabelle Szmigin and Roediger Voss

The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature of complaint satisfaction, specifically to examine how contact employees should behave and which qualities they should…

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3101

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature of complaint satisfaction, specifically to examine how contact employees should behave and which qualities they should possess. The study also aims to explore the comparability of results obtained from two laddering methods, as the alternative techniques may lead to different sets of attributes.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory study using the means‐end approach and two laddering techniques (personal interviews and questionnaires) was conducted.

Findings

While the personal interviews produced more depth in understanding, the results of the two laddering methods are broadly similar. The research indicates that being taken seriously in the complaint encounter and the employee's listening skills and competence are particularly important.

Research limitations/implications

Owing to the exploratory nature of the study and the scope and size of its student sample, the results outlined are tentative in nature.

Practical implications

If companies know what customers expect, contact employees may be trained to adapt their behavior to their customers' underlying expectations, which should have a positive impact on customer satisfaction. For this purpose, the paper gives suggestions to managers to improve active complaint management.

Originality/value

The study was the first to successfully apply the means‐end approach and two laddering techniques to the issue of complaint satisfaction. The paper has hopefully opened up an area of research and methodology that could reap considerable further benefits for researchers interested in the area of customer complaint satisfaction.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2010

Thorsten Gruber, Stefan Fuß, Roediger Voss and Michaela Gläser‐Zikuda

This paper aims to investigate how students perceive the services they are offered at a German university and how satisfied they are with them.

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12332

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate how students perceive the services they are offered at a German university and how satisfied they are with them.

Design/methodology/approach

An evaluation study using a new tool to measure 15 dimensions of student satisfaction at an institutional level that covers most aspects of student life was used. It was decided to develop a new measurement tool as many existing surveys are poorly designed, lack standardization and give no evidence concerning reliability or validity. Questionnaires were handed out in eight lectures for the pilot study and 18 lectures for the main study. The response rate was 99 percent. A total of 374 students (pilot study) and 544 students (main study) filled in the newly developed questionnaires using Likert scales.

Findings

The study gave a valuable insight into how students perceive the quality of the services offered at a university and how satisfied they are with these offerings. The results show that students' satisfaction with their university is based on a relatively stable person‐environment relationship. Thus, the satisfaction of students seems to reflect quite well perceived quality differences of offered services and of the wider environment. Students were particularly satisfied with the school placements and the atmosphere among students. Students were mostly dissatisfied with the university buildings and the quality of the lecture theatres.

Research limitations/implications

As the study involved only two samples of students from one university, the results cannot be generalized to the German student population as a whole.

Originality/value

The study was the first to successfully apply a measurement tool, which has previously not been used. The study has hopefully opened up an area of research and methodology that could provide considerable further benefits for researchers interested in this topic. It also shows how the concept of student satisfaction could be assessed in future studies.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2009

Thorsten Gruber, Isabelle Szmigin and Roediger Voss

This paper seeks to explore the nature of complaint satisfaction with particular emphasis on the qualities and behaviours that male and female customers value during…

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6164

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore the nature of complaint satisfaction with particular emphasis on the qualities and behaviours that male and female customers value during personal complaint‐handling service encounters.

Design/methodology/approach

A semi‐standardized qualitative technique called laddering was used to reveal the cognitive structures of complaining female and male customers. In total, 40 laddering interviews with 21 female and 19 male respondents with complaining experience were conducted.

Findings

The research indicates that being taken seriously in the complaint encounter together with the employee's competence, friendliness and active listening skills are particularly important for both male and female complainants. Females were more able than male respondents to develop strong associations on the highest level of abstraction and linked desired employee behaviors with several values. Female customers tended to be more emotionally involved than male customers as they wanted employees to apologize for the problem and sometimes needed time to calm down and relax. By contrast, male complainants were mainly interested in a quick complaint solution.

Research limitations/implications

Owing to the exploratory nature of the study in general and the scope and size of its sample in particular, the findings are tentative in nature. As the study involved students from one university, the results cannot be generalized beyond this group, even though in this case the student sample is likely to represent the general buying public.

Practical implications

If companies know what female and male customers expect, contact employees may be trained to adapt their behaviour to their customers' underlying expectations, which should have a positive impact on customer satisfaction. For this purpose, the paper offers several suggestions to managers to improve active complaint management.

Originality/value

The findings enrich the existing limited stock of knowledge on complaint management by developing a deeper understanding of the attributes that complaining male and female customers expect from customer contact employees, as well as the underlying logic for these expectations.

Details

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-4529

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Roediger Voss and Thorsten Gruber

The purpose of this research is to aim to develop a deeper understanding of the teaching qualities of effective lecturers that students desire and to uncover the…

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6220

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to aim to develop a deeper understanding of the teaching qualities of effective lecturers that students desire and to uncover the constructs that underlie these desire expectations and reveal the underlying benefits for which students look.

Design/methodology/approach

A semi‐standardized qualitative technique called laddering was applied that allows researchers to reach deeper levels of reality and to reveal the reasons behind the reasons. The study was conducted amongst teacher education students at a large German University of Education and laddering questionnaires were handed out to 53 students enrolled in a business management course.

Findings

The exploratory study gave a valuable first insight into the desired qualities of lecturers. In particular, the study results indicate that students want lecturers to be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, approachable, and friendly. Students predominantly want to encounter valuable teaching experiences to be able to pass tests and to be prepared for their profession. This study also showed that students are mainly concerned about vocational aspects of their studies and are less interested in their subject.

Research limitations/implications

Owing to the exploratory nature of the study and the scope and size of its sample, the results outlined are tentative in nature. As the study involved only a single group of university students from one university, the results cannot be generalized to the student population as a whole.

Originality/value

The study was the first to successfully apply the means‐end approach and the laddering technique to the issue of service quality in higher education. The study has, hopefully, opened up an area of research and methodology that could provide considerable further benefits for researchers interested in this topic.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2008

Thorsten Gruber, Isabelle Szmigin, Alexander E. Reppel and Roediger Voss

The purpose of this paper is to thoroughly explain how qualitative researchers can design and conduct online interviews to investigate interesting consumer phenomena.

Downloads
5409

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to thoroughly explain how qualitative researchers can design and conduct online interviews to investigate interesting consumer phenomena.

Design/methodology/approach

A semi‐standardized qualitative technique called laddering was applied successfully to an online environment. Laddering allows researchers to reach deeper levels of reality and to reveal the reasons behind the reasons. A web survey that included an opinion leadership scale filled in by 2,472 people served as a springboard for identifying possible participants for the online laddering interviews. In total, 22 online interviews were conducted with opinion leaders in the specific product field of digital music players such as Apple's iPod.

Findings

Conducting online interviews enabled information to be gathered from an interesting group of respondents that would have been difficult to contact otherwise. The whole online interviewing process was convenient for respondents who did not have to leave their homes and offices for the interviews. In general, respondents enjoyed the online laddering interviewing experience and in particular the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The most valued attributes of Apple's iPod are “control elements” and “design”, which are linked to values such as hedonism and individuality.

Originality/value

The paper is the first to systematically describe how qualitative researchers can conduct laddering interviews online. By explaining the online interviewing process in detail, the authors dispel criticism that qualitative research reports are often unclear, ambiguous and unstructured. Based on the detailed description of the online laddering process, other researchers can use the technique to get deeper insights into interesting consumer phenomena.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 5 September 2008

Jim Blythe and Ruth Rettie

Downloads
701

Abstract

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 June 2008

Len Tiu Wright

Downloads
342

Abstract

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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