Development of the service quality and performance model for independent colleges in the UK.

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Kumarapperuma, Nadith, K. (2014)

The aim of the research is to identify, evaluate and develop service quality measures/dimensions –\ud from the students’ point of view – at independent Colleges in the UK. The primary objective of the\ud study is to determine whether private higher education providers in the UK meet student\ud expectations. In order to achieve the primary objective, the research identified two secondary\ud objectives as: what are the areas of service quality that are most important to students, when\ud choosing to study at a private college in the UK; and does their chosen private college meet student\ud expectations in all these areas?\ud The research consists of three stages: 1) an extensive analysis of literature followed by discussions\ud with industry experts to map recent developments within independent colleges in the UK, 2) an\ud analysis of a student focus group discussions as well as an expert panel review, of the focus group\ud findings, in order to develop the initial conceptual model and the development of the measurement\ud instrument i.e., online questionnaire, and 3) the online questionnaire link was then promoted to\ud qualifying participants internationally using the official website ( as well\ud as social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In addition, links to the survey and the\ud progress have been listed at several discussion groups as well as included in online press releases.\ud The online questionnaire was made available from 1st June to 30th November 2013, to ensure\ud sufficient time was given to promote the survey and attract a good number of responses.\ud 12,775 completed questionnaires were gathered during the six months period. The sample data was\ud analysed for the normality of distribution followed by assessment of validity and reliability, using\ud parametric statistical analysis tools.\ud Finally, the research concluded that students chose to study at independent colleges as they offered\ud five service quality dimensions as: flexible, market driven, assurance, customer focus and focus\ud practitioners. The participants also agreed that their chosen independent college either met or\ud exceeded their expectations. The research findings were inconclusive in terms of the order of\ud importance of these service quality dimensions.\ud The service quality and performance model for independent colleges in the UK requires these three\ud components: service quality dimensions, measures, and implementation points, to continuously\ud refine and develop. Following such a model, the organisation will continuously identify and refine\ud the service quality dimensions and measures to meet changing student expectations on a\ud continuous basis, whilst sustaining positive service gaps, thriving to remove negative service gaps\ud and by converting neutral areas to positive service gaps.
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