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G. Gallarza1, R. Curras2, F. Arteaga2, T. Fayos1, D. Servera2

1University of Valencia (SPAIN)
2Catholic University of Valencia (SPAIN)
As a consumer behaviour, choosing and experiencing Higher Education services is complex because of the wider range of choices, the comparisons made before experiencing the service, and the recommendation given to others. Accordingly, the interest for researching student behaviour in the HEIs market has stood as a main concern for a long time among service researchers Nevertheless, justification for this interest lays not just on the relevance of the understanding of choice behaviour, but also on students’ retention, as a form of loyalty behaviour. Within this complex behavior, It is acknowledged that both rational and emotional aspects are key drivers of Higher Education service choice and further on satisfaction and loyalty. Thus understanding students’ behaviour through consumption outcomes such as consumer value, satisfaction and loyalty can be a strategic lens for a better comprehension of this rich behaviour.

All these concerns are particularly interesting to be studied in the context of the International exchanges upon the European Higher Education Area. International students experience different value dimensions, and consequently are more or less satisfied, and thus are more or less keen to participate in process of positive or negative word-of-mouth towards the University they visited. The aim pursued in this paper is to perform a survey among international students and investigate, through a Causal Model, relationships and impacts of both positive and negative dimensions of value on both satisfaction and loyalty.

The results of the survey conducted among ERASMUS students from a range of European Universities will empirically show the complexity of student behavior in the HEIs market, where loyalty behavior must be understood as a main concern for positive recommendation and image. The specific focus of this paper will be on the positive and negative value dimensions and, as final outcomes, satisfaction and loyalty behavior. The SEM model will show different intensities in the different links, where functional, emotional and social values are relevant antecedents of an overall perceived value, in contrast with the costs and sacrifices perceived by the student. All these value antecedents are considered to influence (both positively for benefits and negatively for costs) value perception, which in turn is an antecedent of (student) satisfaction, which in turn positively affects loyalty behavior towards the University.