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1.1 Background of the Study
The feelings, thoughts, beliefs and impressions of individuals about objects, individuals and institutions are expressed as ‘image’ (Kotler, 1995). Treadwell and Harrison, 1994 define ‘image’ as the whole of individuals’ perceptions about institutions or beliefs about objects. The concept of ‘image’ at organizational level, on the other hand, is a way that is formed of information, beliefs and emotions which are perceived by the individuals of the organization as a result of the interaction (Belanger, Mount & Wilson, 2002) between the members of the organization. Image perception at universities that is one of educational institutions is defined as thoughts about the faculty, curriculum, and education quality and fee relationship by (Alves, & Raposo, (2010). Kazoleas, Kim and Moffitt, 2001 base perceived university image on a structure that involves seven dimensions that are quality image, program image, sport image, general view and physical background, social context image, entertainment image and housing and nutrition image. According to this, Kazoleas et al., 2001 base quality image on school’s educational level, adequacy of academic staff, implementation facilities, general service quality for students, research activities, high quality at education and preparing students for work life; program image on academic program, fine arts program, scientific programs, vocational education, basic undergraduate education, quality of master programs, quality of undergraduate programs; sport image on sporting facilities and sport teams; general outlook and physical infrastructure on campus, buildings in campus, campus size, library and faculty of education; social context image on extra-curricular activities and opportunities to use time efficiently; entertainment image on entertainment opportunities for students and finally food-accommodation image on providing students with various suitable housing and nutrition opportunities. In the researchers’ study, it is stated that these image types are in a positive relation with each other.
The concept of student or customer loyalty has been widely researched by scholars and practitioners. With increased competition globally, higher education institutions are continuously advancing and repositioning their strategy in an effort to ensure long term student loyalty. Realising the importance of student loyalty to their continued survival institutions have strived to forecast, understand and satisfy students’ needs and preferences.
Since institutions are competing for loyalty using different marketing strategies, students trust to the institution might be influenced by favourable image and perceived value of products or services offerings. And that both student perceived value and institutional image/reputation are key determinants of customer loyalty (Tarus and Rabach, 2013), and exceptionally for specialised service firms (Zabala, 2005). Hence vision about student loyalty as well as the factors responsible for their loyalty behavior should be of ultimate concern when determining the most suitable organizational strategy (Yap, 2012; Helgesen and Nesset, 2007).
Prior studies have examined in varying context, the relationships between student (customer) loyalty and constructs such as satisfaction, perceptions of reputation (Helgesen and Nesset, 2007), satisfaction and performance (Helgesen, 2006; Zeithaml, 2000; Kotler and Fox, 1995), satisfaction (Wilkins and Balakrishnan, 2013), service quality (Zeithaml, 1996), perceived value (Petruzzellis and Romanazzi, 2010; Yang and Peterson, 2004), service quality, student satisfaction (Agarwal and Teas, 2001; Teas and Agarwal, 2000; Johnston, 1995), perceived service value, service quality and social pressure, customer satisfaction, corporate image (Tarus and Rabach, 2013), customer trust and commitment (Garbarino and Johnson, 1999), customer satisfaction (Lai, 2009; Chandrashekaran, 2007), and corporate image (Gummesson and Gronroos, 1988; Hart and Rosenberger, 2004). To a large extent, researches regarding factors accountable for student or customer loyalty behaviour unfold.
Due to the nature of industry (Jones and Sasser, 1995; De Rutyer et al., 1998; Eskildsen, 2004), complexities of customer and the different institutional techniques in delivering quality products or services and its perception by students (Stodnick and Rogers, 2008). According to Tarus and Rabach (2013), “the determinants of one industry cannot be generalized in other industries.” The intensity of implementation and measures used varies with organizations (Sarkindaji, 2015). Even though studies have examined drivers of customer loyalty, literature on university image as perceived by its students and how this image affects their behaviour remains scarce (Alves and Raposo, 2010). In addition, few studies have comprehensively examined the effect of institutional image on customers’ trust (Lin and Lu, 2010). Empirical studies also suggested that trust is more vital in safeguarding loyalty compared to satisfaction (Caceras and Paparoidamis, 2007; Ranaweera and Prabhu, 2003). Furthermore, while researches have focused on investigating the link between loyalty and different relationship constructs the combined effect of institutional image/reputation and perceived value on student loyalty with trust as moderator remains inadequate especially in higher education industry. Loyalty concept has been inadequately applied in higher education (Alves and Raposo, 2010).
This project seeks to investigate the influence of institutional image/ reputation and student perceived value on student loyalty. It further examines the moderating influence of student trust among the study variables. The project comprised of the following sub-topics namely; introduction, theoretical background and hypotheses, methodology, discussion of results and concluding remarks.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The study therefore, sougth to fill the above gap by examining the interaction and non-interaction effects of service quality dimensions and institutional reputation on studentions satisfaction and their loyalty. The study also examined how the student’s level of education can influence their satisfaction and loyalty. Perception and satisfaction of service quality has been identified in the marketing literature to influence behavioral loyalty decisions (Eggert & Ulaga, 2002; Parasuraman & Grewal, 2000; Ravald & Grönroos, 1996; Liljander & Strandvik, 1995; Gross 1997; Zeithaml, 2000). Most of these empirical studies tended to focus on developed economy with more concentration on academics’ aspects, with very little attention paid to the non-academics’ aspects of the educational experience (Abdullah, 2005).
The students are therefore exposed to more tertiary education options than ever before (Fosu & Owusu, 2015), hence the need to deliver quality service to students (Abukari & Corner, 2010). Again, from satisfaction to intention to retention behavior needs to be carefully examined (Kara & De Shield 2004). There is an assertion that quality in service marketing is based on the notion that quality has to be judged on the assessment or user perspective (Gronroos, 1984; Parasuraman, 1985, as cited in Fosu & Owusu, 2015). However, empirical evidence has shown that the, research conducted in marketing literature on services in the field of higher education from the user perspective is significantly weak (Abdulah, 2005; Cronin & Taylor, 1992). Despite numerous studies having been carried out in the field over the years, there still exist a significant disparity concerning the best way to define and measure service quality (Fosu & Owusu, 2015). To add to the above is that no single model of service quality is accepted, past experience with the service therefore will go a long way to influence expectations (Fosu & Owusu, 2015). Furthermore, consumers’ expectations are influenced by marketing mix activities; ideology and word of mouth communication, hence past experience will influence their expectations (Gronroos, 1984).
Again, students` perception could be positive or negative depending on their expectation and experience, and the consequence of perception either negative or positive will be very critical to an institutional success. Hence, measuring the kind of perception that the students form about the university will go a long way to influencing managerial decisions regarding the level of quality they need to deliver to meet students` desires and needs. This will help them achieve students’ satisfaction and loyalty. In doing this, they need to be concern about how their students feel about their service experience, but rather not only show concern about the value of the society and the abilities of their graduates (Lawson, 1992, as cited in Abdullah, 2006).
It is therefore very important to determine how the variables within SERVQUAL model, institutional reputation and students’ satisfaction can influence students’ perception and its loyalty decisions. This study specifically examines the interaction and non-interaction effects of service quality and institutional reputation on the loyalty of the students of moshood abiolia polytechnics as well as how their level of education can influence their satisfaction and loyalty decisions.
1.3 Aim and Objective of the Study
1.3.1 General Objective
The main objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between students’ perception of service quality in higher education institutions in Mapoly and their loyalty, taken into consideration the role of institutional reputation and students’ level of education.
1.3.2 Specific Objectives:
Specifically, the objectives of this study were to:
Access Institutional image and positive impact on student loyalty and perceived value.
Investigate Perceived value on positive influence on student loyalty.
Determine the relationship between students’ perception of service quality and their loyalty.
find out the effects of students’ satisfaction of the various dimensions of service quality on their loyalty
assess the relationship that level of education establishes between students’ perception of service quality, their satisfaction and loyalty and
Examine the interaction and non- interaction effects of service quality and institutional reputation on students’ satisfaction and loyalty.
1.4 Research Question
What is the relationship between students’ perception of service quality and their loyalty?
What are the effects of students’ satisfaction of the various dimensions’ of service quality on their loyalty?
What kind of relationship does the level of education establish between students’ perception of service quality and their satisfaction?
What are the interaction and non-interaction effects of service quality and institutional reputation on students’ satisfaction and loyalty?
They hypothesis for this study are:
H1: Institutional image has significant positive impact on student loyalty and perceived value.
H2: Perceived value has significant positive influence on student loyalty.
1.5 Significant of the Study
The findings of this study will:
· Create awareness for all concerned bodies about the current quality status of education institutions in Mapoly,
· Help the polytechnic administrators in compiling information that can be used in planning, implementation and monitoring of the programmes that are geared towards maintaining quality of education,
· Contribute towards enhancing and ensuring quality in higher education through policy measures emanating from the recommendation of the study and
· Serve as a springboard for further investigation of the issues under discussion.
1.6 Scope/Delimitation of the Study
This study is confined to assessing the quality of education in the higher institutions. It explores service quality from students’ perspectives, based on how the institutional reputation and level of education will influence their perception of service quality dimensions in predicting their satisfaction and loyalty. Therefore, conceptually this study investigates the quality of education in the moshood abiola polytechnic, by emphasizing students` concern on quality dimensions in the teaching and learning process. Finally, the study examined the students` loyalty decision from the students’ point of view.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
The main constraint of the research is divided into the following parts.
Time constraints- due to the short time given for the study, the researcher could not get all the required information needed for the study.
Finance- as a result of money constraint the researcher had not enough money to carry out the study beyond the level. The researcher could not visit places where necessary information relevant to the study could be obtained.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Corporate Image: A corporate identity or corporate image is the manner in which a corporation, firm or business enterprise presents itself to the public (such as customers and investors as well as employees). The corporate identity is typically visualized by branding and with the use of trademarks, but it can also include things like product design, advertising, public relations etc.
Perception: Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information, or the environment
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