QUALITY IN BUSINESS EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE: STUDENTS PERCEPTIONS IN CYPRUS PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES
Service quality and customer satisfaction are closely interrelated (Cronin and Taylor, 1992). Because of its strong relation with customer satisfaction, business performance and profitability, service quality has become a major area of attention during the past decades (Cronin and Taylor, 1999; Chang and Chen, 1998; Gummesson, 1998; Cronin et al., 2000, Sureschchander et al., 2002). Quality, thus, is nowadays one of the most critical aspects for the strategic management of service firms (Robledo, 2001) and the delivery of high quality is the strategy being offered as the key to a service provider’s efforts for positioning itself more effectively in the market (Brown and Swartz, 1984; Parasuraman et al., 1988; Thompson et al., 1985 cited in Cronin and Taylor, 1992). Service quality is a newly emerging field that is gaining more attention in the Higher Education arena as a tool for quality management (Hill, 1995). During the last four years significant changes have been taking place in the Cyprus Higher Education area (i.e. three major colleges have transformed into universities). In such a competitive scenario, the Cyprus Higher Education area needs to adopt an entrepreneurial approach in order to better serve its customers. As higher education meets all the classical features of services (Yeo, 2008; Angell et al., 2008; Brochado & Marques, 2007; Petruzzellis et al., 2006; Chua, 2004; O’Neil & Palmer, 2004), the concepts of service quality and customer satisfaction are directly applicable, moving the universities closer to their market needs. The purpose of this study is to define and assess the quality of a Higher education Institution as perceived by its business students, and utilize the findings for prioritizing areas for quality improvement efforts.
A questionnaire will be constructed utilizing as a four-point Likert rating scale, as used in similar studies (see Harvey et al., 1992). The second stage involves the delivery of the questionnaire to all business students pursuing an undergraduate degree with a private Cypriot university during the academic year 2010-2011.