Effect of service quality on graduates’ satisfaction

Publication Date01 July 2019
Date01 July 2019
AuthorAbdel-Aziz Ahmad Sharabati,Mohammad M. Alhileh,Hesham Abusaimeh
SubjectEducation,Educational evaluation/assessment
Eect of service quality on
Abdel-Aziz Ahmad Sharabati
Business Department, Middle East University, Amman, Jordan, and
Mohammad M. Alhileh and Hesham Abusaimeh
Middle East University, Amman, Jordan
Purpose The purpose of this paperis to investigatethe effect of service quality on graduatessatisfaction
as perceivedby Middle East University (MEU) graduates.
Design/methodology/approach This research is cross-sectional and aims to explore the effect of
service quality dimensions (academic staff, administration, classrooms and library services) on
graduatessatisfaction. Data were collected from 399 graduates. After conrming validity, reliability
and normality of the data, and the correlation between variables, multiple regressions were used to test
the hypothesis.
Findings The results show that all servicequality dimensions are highly implemented by the MEU. The
relationships between all servicequality dimensions and graduatessatisfaction are strong. Finally, results
show that all servicequality dimensions affect graduatessatisfaction.
Research limitations/implications To generalize the results of this research, further studies are
recommended to be carried out on other universities especially in Jordan. Testing the perception and
satisfaction of other universities, stakeholders will help to improve service quality and to gain suitable
Practical implications Service quality is a key driver for universitiessustainable competitive
advantage;therefore, dimensions of service qualityshould be included within universities plan,strategies and
daily activities.
Social implications Considering service quality in higher education improves countrieseconomic
development, quality of life and well-being. All corporate social responsibility pillars (social, economic,
environmental responsibilitiesand national and international regulation and norms) should be adapted and
adopted withinservices quality systems and programs.
Originality/value Most of previous studies were carried out to test the studentsperception while
this research is dedicated to explore graduatesperception regarding service quality offered by the
Keywords Jordan, Service quality, Amman, Graduatessatisfaction, Middle East University (MEU)
Paper type Research paper
The majority of the quality management models that have been used in the businessworld
were specically adapted and adopted to assess and evaluate service quality in higher
education (Pratminingsih, 2005). In recentyears, educational institutions of different levels,
including higher education,have been facing an increasingly erce competitive environment
(Taulet et al., 2010;Vrana et al.,2015;Liu, 2015;Haile and Dimissie, 2018) while, at the same
time, working under pressure to contribute to countrieseconomic development and growth
(Ciriaci and Muscio, 2014). The majority of the top economically developed countries in the
world tend to give higher educationinstitutions more attention and support and treat them
as a top priority (Raju and Bhaskar, 2018). In such a high competitive environment in the
Received5 April 2018
Revised26 August 2018
6 February2019
13February 2019
11March 2019
22March 2019
23April 2019
Accepted4 May 2019
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.27 No. 3, 2019
pp. 320-337
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/QAE-04-2018-0035
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
international education business, it is essential for institutions to develop a good
understanding of what inuences studentssatisfaction (Songsathaphorn et al.,2014).
Evidently, studentsexpectation of high-quality education and servicesat a reasonable cost
(Liu, 2013) forces educational institutions to consider studentsrequirements and demands
in their strategy and programs (Alhudaithy, 2014;Nell and Cant, 2014), and must regularly
gauge their studentsperceptions about their service quality (Karatas et al.,2016).
Appropriately, it is believed that applying service quality strategies and programs would
lead to gain competitive advantage (Ezeokoliand Ayodele, 2014), to increase the number of
new students (Songsathaphornet al.,2014)and to boost studentssatisfaction (Duzevic et al.,
2015). Nevertheless, higher education institutionsimage and reputation are primarily
identied by their programsquality,teaching staff quality and other facilities and services
quality (Stimac and Simic, 2012). Considering that the quality management system of the
educational institution consists of the teachers, administrators and students, in addition to
other stakeholders (Essel et al.,2018), it is only logical to suggest that service quality
strategies must be developed to suit and match the needs and requirements of all
stakeholders and should be translated into actions (Donlagic and Fazlic, 2015). However,
according to Tegambwage (2017), service quality providers should consider customers
satisfaction as the most important asset and should direct their efforts to service them
properly. Additionally, they should consider all service quality dimensions regularly for
continuous improvementas suggested by Raju and Bhaskar (2018).
Finally, for graduate students, just obtaining a degree does not guarantee to get a
suitable job with a suitable salary, as getting a suitable job is not related to education
more but rather related to better education (Junga and Leeb, 2016). Unfortunately,
satisfaction among graduates about the quality of education is considered only when
competition affects enrolment (Sum et al.,2017),a notion that was conrmed by many
studies which indicated that there is a gap between the stakeholdersexpectations
about service quality and the actually experienced service quality. Therefore, this
research is dedicated to investigate the effect of service quality offered by Middle
East University (MEU) on its graduatessatisfaction, seeking to come up with sound
recommendations based on the results and ndings of the study, which can be
benecial not only for the MEU but also other higher education institutions and
service industries, in particular senior management, strategists and decision makers
in the higher education industry.
Literature review
Different methods, models, tools and elements were used to explore the effect of higher
education service quality on studentssatisfaction. For example, while Liverpool John
Moores University in the UK related service quality to studentssatisfaction pertaining to
teaching, learning processes and physical facilities (Douglas et al., 2006), others divided
service quality elements into tangibleand intangible dimensions (Nadiria et al., 2009). Some
authors used the followingeight dimensions to measure service quality in higher education:
competencies, capabilities, management situation, assurance, effectiveness, efciency,
dependability and grading (Sultan and Tarafder, 2007;Sultan and Wong, 2010). In India,
Tamil Nadu Higher EducationDepartment used the following indicators to measure service
quality: teaching methodology, environmental changes, disciplinary and placement-related
activities (Senthilkumar and Arulraj, 2011). In contrast, Latvia Higher Education
Department used academicstaff, course content, labor market readiness and skills, facilities,
library, administrative staff and information system to evaluate the quality of services
(Purgailis and Zaksa, 2012). In Rajabhat, universities concluded that both academic and
Eect of
service quality

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