HOW IMPORTANT ARE HUMAN FACTORS TO THE TWITTER GENERATION? A CASE STUDY OF A PRIVATE HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION IN MALAYSIA
The youth of today were born into the world of the Internet, Google, eBay, mobile phones, PDAs, GPS, Playstation, etc (Hawkins et al, 2010; Cranston, 2008; Eisner, 2005; Dietz, 2003; Gerritsen, 2008). Often identified by their gadgets such as iPods, Blackberrys, laptops, etc (Himmel, 2008). They are also prolific users of blogs, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc (Dickey and Sullivan, 2007; Donnelly, 2008). Furthermore, they are described as being goal oriented, highly motivated, self-absorbed, self-reliant, independent, assertive, skeptical, confident, optimistic, independent thinkers, street-smart, global, diverse, technology savvy and selfish (Eisner, 2005; Novak et al, 2006; Roco, 2006, Armour, 2005; Gallo, 2006; Langford, 2008; Simon, 2009; Benjamin, 2008; Labi, 2008a and 2008b; Cohen , 2007; Gorrell, 2008). Given the above, are human aspects still important to the youth? This paper explores this question by focusing on undergraduate students studying in a private higher education institution (HEI) in Malaysia. It is crucial for private HEIs to satisfy and meet the expectations of their customers to ensure survival and growth. Thus, an understanding of what the students hold as important is paramount towards the HEIs’ ability to ensure success.
This is a quantitative study using a survey questionnaire as the research instrument. A sampling frame of 750 was stratified from three different faculties namely, the management, information technology and creative multimedia of a private HEI in Malaysia. The instrument was personally administered to the undergraduate students from the three different faculties as the target respondents. The survey questionnaire adapted the 22 items for each five dimensions of the SERVQUAL instrument by (Parasuraman et. al., 1988). They are: 1) Tangibility, 2) Reliability, 3) Responsiveness, 4) Assurance and 5) Empathy. Each dimension was gauged using four items except reliability and empathy which used four items. These items employed a 7-point Likert scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree continuum. The questionnaire was further divided into two main parts. The first part intended to capture the respondents’ perception and the second part aimed at obtaining the respondents’ expectation by requesting them to rate their level of agreement towards each item of the five dimensions.
Based on the sampling frame of 750, 481 samples were obtained revealing a 64.13% response rate. Based on the traits used to describe the generation which the sampled respondents belong to, it was expected that human aspects would be of lower importance than the tangible aspects such as technology and modern facilities. However, the results show otherwise.