How can universities improve student loyalty? The roles of university social responsibility, service quality, and “customer” satisfaction and trust

Khawaja Fawad Latif, Louise Bunce, Muhammad Shakil Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
Student loyalty is important if universities are to stay in business by recruiting and retaining satisfied students who provide positive evaluations of their university to others. The current study employed a theoretical framework established by consumer researchers to test the hypothesis that university social responsibility (USR) would predict student loyalty, but that this relation would be mediated by perceived service quality, student satisfaction, and student trust in their university.

Design/methodology/approach
Fee-paying university students in Pakistan (n = 608) completed a questionnaire to assess their perception of USR and service quality, their satisfaction with and trust in their university, and loyalty toward their university.

Findings
Structural equation modelling with partial least squares software supported the hypotheses that higher perceived USR would be related to higher student loyalty, and that this relation would be mediated by perceived service quality, student satisfaction, and student trust.

Originality/value
This study provides a novel contribution to the limited literature on USR and its relations with student loyalty. Several models have previously examined the relation between corporate social responsibility and general consumer loyalty, but these have limited applicability to the education sector. The data in this study support a model showing that USR supports student loyalty through its positive impact on perceptions of service quality, student satisfaction, and student trust. The findings suggest that USR could be a marketing tool that supports student loyalty, as long as USR initiatives increase students' perceptions of service quality, satisfaction and trust in their university.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2021

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