A pragmatic model of student satisfaction: a viewpoint of private higher education

Published date01 April 2019
Date01 April 2019
AuthorAbu Rashed Osman,Ruswiati Surya Saputra
Subject MatterEducation,Curriculum, instruction & assessment,Educational evaluation/assessment
A pragmatic model of student
satisfaction: a viewpoint of
private higher education
Abu Rashed Osman
Department of Business and Economics,
United International University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, and
Ruswiati Surya Saputra
Department of Strategic Management, OYAGSB,
University Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between service quality, program
quality,institutional image and student satisfaction in the context of higher education.Additionally, the study
attempts to describe the mediating impact of institutional image between service quality, program quality
and studentsatisfaction.
Design/methodology/approach The structural equation modelingwas used to analyze the inuence
of mediatingvariable and hypotheses testing. The populationof this study was fourth-year business students
of nine grade oneprivateuniversities in Bangladesh. Data (n= 310) were gathered from studentspursuing
studiesat different private universities in Bangladesh.
Findings The ndings of this study revealed that image occupied full mediation role between service
quality and student satisfaction. Furthermore, it also disclosed that the direct path of service quality and
student satisfactionwas not statistically signicant.
Practical implications These unique ndings imply that academic authorities should nurture the
institutionalimage and program quality rigorously toenhance student satisfaction. The ndingsof this study
would benet both practitioners and academics, especially in the perspective of Bangladesh private higher
Originality/value Past researchers have examined the direct afliation between service quality and
student satisfaction. Hence, there is a deciency of indirect link between service quality and student
satisfaction. This study has incorporated image as a mediating variable to fulll the deciency in higher
Keywords Service quality, Student satisfaction, Private universities, Institutional image,
Program quality
Paper type Research paper
Due to the growing competition, student satisfaction has become an important subject
matter for educational research. Satised students are strong source of testimonials for
universities however displeased students may create a complaining environment which
could create negative effect on image of the institution(Fitzpatrick et al.,2012). The reasons
which are signicantly associated to satisfaction of student must be necessary to recognize
by the universities. Parasuramanet al. (1985) stressed that quality was dedicatedly linked to
the subject of satisfaction leading prospect behavior. In recent times, student satisfaction
has gained ample focus and endedup with the leading focusing point of entire tertiary level
Received18 May 2017
Revised18 May 2017
Accepted21 May 2018
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.27 No. 2, 2019
pp. 142-165
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/QAE-05-2017-0019
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
educational institutions (Temizer and Turkyilmaz, 2012). Arambewela and Hall (2009) also
stressed that student satisfactionwas the key basis of competitive lead, and it had become a
main contest for the universities.
The higher studies in Bangladesh have gone through massive progress in recent times,
and it is broadly perceived that future attainment in a globalized global economy entirely
depends on superior service,which it turns leads to customer satisfaction. Higher education
institutions are platforms for generating and dissemination of knowledge. However the
quality of education is not visiblein the universities of Bangladesh and gradually declining
(UGC, 2004). Rouf, Habibullah, and Islam (2015) conducted a study in Bangladesh private
university perspective to explore the level of quality education and revealed that
respondentssatisfaction status was poor regarding campus facilities, lab and library
services. Researchers also pointed out that a few non-government institutions are quality
focused and rests of them are far away from quality education. Mohsin and Kamal (2012)
expressed in their study that the quality of both government and non-government higher
educational institutions of Bangladesh have been at a miserable stage. The rank of
Bangladesh is 146th, according to the Human Development Index (HDI) in the world with
compared to Singapore and Malaysia which are 26th and 61th position according to HDI,
2011. The HDI is an integrated statistic of lifespan, education and earnings per person
indicators, which are considered to nominate countries into four levels of human
development. Over the past two decades, the generalview of educational scholars and other
interested party is that the quality of higher education in Bangladesh has been worsening
steadily and in particular areas pretty terrifyingly(Aminuzzaman, 2008). Signicant growth
of both the government and private universities have observed, but the quality of higher
studies is not meeting the satisfaction level compared to nearby countries. Not a single
institution of Bangladesh has occupied in the list of topmost 400 worldsnest universities
(USA News and World Report, 2011). In connection with this discussion, it is clear that
performance of the private and public universities is not satisfactory due to poor quality
education services.
In the 1990s, the government was clear thatpublic universities were incapable of meeting
the growing demand for higher studies; thus, the government took the right initiative to
setup private universities in Bangladesh (UGC: 2006). The government obliged to give
authorization to set-up private university under the Private University Act 1992 due to the
enormous demand for higher studies. At present, 92 private universities are functioning in
Bangladesh and more are in the pipeline (UGC, 2014). The gure of student enrollments in
private universities is steadilyincreasing in Bangladesh. The Annual Report of UGC (2015)
showed that there were 375,000 students in 2015. Approximately, 62 per cent students are
pursuing study at various private universities while only 38 per cent students are pursuing
study at public universities implying the exponential growth of privatization of higher
education after its inception in 1992 (Haque, 2014).This gure is going upward per year by
20 per cent compared to 5 per cent per year growth in the publicuniversities (Annual Report
UGC: 2011). However, majority of the private universities is away from quality teaching
standards and suitable academicatmosphere therefore questions have ascended against the
value of the degree in the job market (Chowdhury,Iqbal, and Mich, 2010).
The purpose of this study is to explore the inuence of service quality, program quality,
and institutional image towardstudent satisfaction in the context of higher education. Past
researchers have examined the direct afliation between service quality and student
satisfaction (Abili et al., 2012;Asaduzzaman and Mahabubur, 2013;Dib and Alnazer, 2013;
Hishamuddin et al., 2008;Gruber et al.,2010;I-Ming and Chich-Jen, 2006;Malik et al.,2010;
Sapri et al., 2009). Hence, there was a deciency of indirectlink between service quality and
Private higher

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