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Dissertation On Todays Global Economy Management Essay


1.0 Introduction

In today’s global economy, companies of all types acknowledge that their customers are extremely important, that they are the company’s most valuable asset by which the company survives only when it has customers and grows only when it can maintain them and employ new ones, and that the company therefore should be structured and managed around the customer. Moreover, there is a growing importance of services in the world economy. The topic of service quality is ever more recognized as being one of the key strategic values of organizations in both the manufacturing and service sectors. Service quality is very important, because it allows the company to differentiate itself from its competitors by increasing sales and market shares. It results in the satisfaction and preservation of customers and employees. Therefore, service managers and academic researchers by now are directing their efforts to understand and measure how customers perceive the quality of services, as well as how these perceptions translate into customer satisfaction and behavioral intentions.

1.1 Background of the Study

Customer satisfaction it is considered as an important facet for service organizations and is highly related with service quality (Bolton and Drew, 1991). In most cases, customer satisfaction is seen as the essential determinant of business success and most organizations nowadays are more concerning with service quality which have an effect on customer to be interested and satisfied with the organization (Bolton and Drew, 1991; Lee, & Hwan, 2005). Service quality in successful organizations has a great concern, because they believe that excellent service is profitable strategy because it results in more new customers, more business with existing customers, fewer lost of customers, more insulation from price competition, and fewer mistakes requiring the performance of services (Ugboma, Ogwude, & Nadi, 2007). Service quality is related to customer satisfaction.

The willingness of customer to maintain and keep relationship with a firm is dependent on his or her perception of the benefits of a high-quality service that helps to provide a continuous flow of value (Carrillat, Jaramillo, & Mulki, 2009). Service quality can be described as a global assessment, in other words, it is the overall impression of customer of the relative inferiority / superiority of the organization and its services. It is about something that we feel happy toward it and provide us with value. For example in this university (UUM), we can say that library services and new technology are some of the services that the university provide for its customers, and this will affect on customer satisfaction who can evaluate the quality of the service that UUM offer.

Student perceptions of quality are interesting aspects in any approach to institutional quality improvement. Nowadays, there is much concern toward education, and there are a lot of educational institutions around the entire world for different programmes and areas of study (Gallifa, & Batalle, 2010 & Kitchroen, 2004). Universities differ about each other in terms of the service quality that offer for customers, and successful universities try to attract more customers and provide different kind of services that can influence customer choice to attract a large amount of customers and gain competitive advantage over all competitors, and this depend on the quality of service offered for target customers (students).

In this paper I will study the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction in University Utara Malaysia (UUM), since there are many universities that compete with UUM in terms of education and the service quality that customer normally looks for. We can measure and determine the quality of service by examining and analyzing customer satisfaction. Customer Satisfaction appears to be a combination of both emotional and cognitive responses, while service quality, as an antecedent and leads to overall satisfaction, appears to be mainly a customer’s cognitive assessment of a service (Kitchroen, 2004; Howat, Crilley & McGrath, 2008). Consumers normally make choices that promote their effective value, and enterprises endeavor in order to establish marketing strategies that promote such effective value perceived by consumers in order to enhance customer satisfaction and corporate performance. Large-sized universities that increase the value of education and satisfaction ensure customers will re-visit and also increase revenue by providing something in value for customers and satisfying them who are considered as the target market the university seeks for (Kim, Goh, & Kim, 2008).

The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction at University Utara Malaysia. This study will look at international students in UUM as a study sample to clarify my finding.

1.3 Problem Statement

Service quality is noted as commonly an important perquisite in order to establish and sustain satisfying relationships with customers. In this concern, the relation between service quality and customer satisfaction has been emerged as a topic of considerable and strategic concern (e.g. Bolton and Drew, 1991; Cronin and Taylor, 1992; Taylor & Baker, 1994). Generally, in this era research suggests that service quality is an important indicator of customer satisfaction (Spreng & Mackoy, 1996).

Service quality is one of the most important research topics on a large scale in services (Zeithaml 2000; Gallifa, & Batalle, 2010 ). The consumers are concerned not with how a service is delivered but only with the quality of output they receive. Quality perceptions of UUM influence customer attitude toward the service. High levels of quality of service occur when the customer perceives that the service provider exceeded his or her expectations. Customer satisfaction with a service is able to create long term benefits for the university including positive word-of-mouth, and customer loyalty (Anderson, Fornell, & Lehmann, 1994).

The concept of service quality can assist the manager by providing them with general understanding of how consumers are likely to evaluate the quality of the business (Arasli, 2005 & Athiyaman, 1997; Hasan, 2008) Bring to mind that in evaluating the quality of service consumers consider categories of service attributes such as reliability and responsiveness. As well, consumers take into consideration the level of performance that they think service firms should achieve on the service attributes, that is, consumers have quality expectations. (Hasan, Ilias, Rahman, 2008 & Athiyaman, 1997)

In University Utara Malaysia (UUM), there are many students from 24 different countries around the world, especially from the Middle East. As we know every country differs about each other in terms of its own culture, needs, taste and background, situation and others. All of these factors will also affect on customer satisfaction, that is, students in UUM campus. There for, the services provided by UUM should meet customers’ expectations.

Due to the growing number of graduate students with the fact that the student’s satisfaction is an important element for consideration by the administration, this is a descriptive study intended to determine and observe if there is any relationship between service quality (Tangibles, Reliability, Responsiveness, Assurance, and Empathy) and customer satisfaction among international students in UUM.

1.4 Objectives of Study

The main objectives of this study are:

To examine the relationship between service quality and students satisfaction.

To determine the level of students satisfaction toward services provided by University Utara Malaysia.

1.5 Questions of Research

This study is sought to answer the following questions on service quality and customer satisfaction, and the research study will be guided by the following research questions for the investigation as follows.

What is the relationship between service quality and students satisfaction?

What is the level of students’ satisfaction toward services provided by University Utara Malaysia?

1.6 Significance of Study

Results of this study can be used by students and further research to develop a plan and integrate a perception about service quality to solve the problem and may lead to understand the customer’s perception about UUM clearly. This study can be used to guide others who want to study about service quality and customer satisfaction of UUM to do their research. It is very important to study the relationship between the service quality and customer satisfaction in this university to tell educators and those who interested to study in UUM about the main features and attributes that UUM offer for its students and this may attract customers and give advantage for it.

The results of this study will be very useful for the university to evaluate various aspects of the services, and public facilities available. This study is very important, because it can help to understand the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction at UUM. In this study we can determine the strengths and weaknesses for the university and help to understand the customer requirements to achieve the satisfaction and also determine the percentage of satisfaction for UUM services and respond to customer needs.

The overall objective of this study is to test the relationship between service quality and satisfaction in order to determine whether service quality should universally be considered an antecedent of satisfaction or whether the causal order is context-specific. The results will not only improve our understanding of the interrelationships which take place during a service encounter but will also determine whether these effects are consistent across national borders for consumers with markedly different cognitive orientations.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study will find out the students’ satisfaction towards the facilities provided by the university Utara Malaysia (UUM) such as the accommodation, library services, medical services, transportation and sport/recreational facilities which become a part of the students experience during their period of study.

1.8 Limitation of the study

The level of satisfaction for every student is very subjective as a result of to their culture, background, race and status. Some students might be satisfied after using the facilities provided by the university because of their family background. Students from the middle class might be satisfied with the basic facilities while students from high class or from a rich family might have higher expectations on the facilities provided. This study is limited to understand and measure the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction to international students at University Utara Malaysia.

1.9 Organization of the Research Project



Background of the Study.

Problem Statement.

Research Questions.

Research Objectives.

Significance of the Study.

Scope of the Study.

Limitation of the Study.

CHAPTER 2: Literature Review

Student Satisfaction.

Service Quality.

Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction.

CHAPTER 3: Methodology

Research Framework.

Hypotheses/ Proposition Development.

Research Design.

Operational Definition.


Data Collection.


Data Collection Procedures.

Techniques of Data Analysis

CHAPTER 4: Results and Discussion


Profiles of Respondents.

Descriptive Frequency of Variables.

Reliability of Variables and Measurements.

Correlation among Variables.




CHAPTER 5: Conclusion and Recommendation





2.1 Student Satisfaction

There is a wide range of literature on the concept of customer satisfaction. The growing importance of studies on customer satisfaction is the result of business competition in all parts of the world. According to (Nicholls et al. 1998), Customers are the lifeblood of any organization, whether private, public enterprise sector or the government sector, and satisfaction is particularly important for organizations that provide services rather than goods (Hasan, 2008 & Nicholls et al. 1998)

To survive in the highly competitive marketplace, organizations need to provide goods and services that meet customer satisfaction and loyalty. When customers are satisfied, they are more likely to return to those who helped them, while dissatisfied customers are more likely to go anywhere else. The retention of very loyal customers is a key to organizational survival (Hill 1995 & Mavondo, 2004 ).

In the case of educational services, a variety of studies have been conducted to understand customers’ satisfaction. Students are considered the main customers for universities as major players in the education industry.( Oliver, 1999; Sohail, 2004 & Harvey, 1992) according to Kotler and Clarke (1987) satisfaction is the desirous outcome of a task or action that satisfies one’s esteem., Rad & Yarmohammadian (2006) defined satisfaction as the willful accomplishment that results in one’s contentment. as a result, satisfaction is the sense of consumer that consumption provides outcomes against a standard of pleasure versus displeasure.” (Oliver, 1999 & Gotlieb, 1994) while Elliott and Shin (2002, p. 198), describe students satisfaction as “And preference for self-evaluation of the student from the different outcomes and experiences associated with education.

Satisfaction plays a key role in determining the authenticity and accuracy of the system, especially in the educational system and the high level of satisfaction will be the highest level of grooming students develops their skills, knowledge of course, and mentality (Malik, 2010)

Some Researchers acknowledge that satisfaction is the final state of psychological process. Elliot and Healy (2001) specified that satisfaction of student is a short-term attitude that results from the evaluation of their experience with the service of education received. It should be emphasized that most of the studies on this issue were carried out within the context of analyzing student’s satisfaction for the most important services or the core business offered by universities (Harvey, 1995; Sapri, 2009 & Hill 1995)

Students’ satisfaction becomes the priority for universities in any of the facilities provided. Customer satisfaction can be defined as “a state of mind set by which customers have about their expectations over the lifetime of a product or service (Flott, 2002). Several Studies also have been conducted on customers’ satisfaction towards their housing and accommodation as part of service. Athram (2000) Compared between the residential satisfaction of public housing in the city of Benghazi, Libya, with emphasis on identifying social and economic background of respondents, examined the current housing conditions and the types of available space and identified the residential satisfaction of the respondents.

Student satisfaction is being formed persistently by repeated experiences in the life of campus. results of current research reveal that satisfied students may attract new students by engaging in positive word-of-mouth communication to inform his friends and acquaintances, and they may go to the university to take other courses (Wiers-Jenssen et al., 2002; Mavondo et al., 2004 & Schertzer and Schertzer, 2004)

In this competitive market, satisfaction with services may make the difference (Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry 1991). This study is important because it is going to determine the level of service quality and the level of satisfaction among the students as have been stressed by( Flott, 2002 & Gilmore, 1974 ). Banwet and Datta (2003) believed that satisfied customers are loyal, and that satisfied students were likely to attend another lecture delivered by the same lecturer or opt for another module or course taught by her/ him. Presumably, if the changes were initiated in the implementation of quality programs on the basis of marketing research- that is, the changes were market driven and customer oriented- the quality improvements should lead to customer satisfaction (Krentler, 2006; Dyson, 1996 & Ham, 2003)

According to Athiyaman, 1997, note that (dis)satisfaction is an internal situation similar to attitude but it is transaction-specific. In other words, satisfaction/dissatisfaction is the result of the evaluation of a specific transaction or consumption experience: in our class for example, an overall evaluation of the goodness or badness of attending the class. On support services, satisfaction is evaluated by the number of compliments and complaints received. Students are encouraged to submit their suggestions, comments, or complaints through internet channels to help the school develop their farther support service. Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985) suggested that increasing of sophistication of reliability, empathy, tangibility, responsiveness and assurance can increase customer satisfaction towards services provided by Human Resource department (Wiers-Jenssen et al., 2002 & Krentler, 2006)

Furthermore, with the location of UUM that considered in the rural area and far from the city will give student a negative perception regarding the facilities provided. In this case UUM need to have additional effort in strengthening and promoting task to attract students to choose UUM. Program offered could attract the students at the other side but the package of good facilities and services will heightened the interest of students to come and experience the study here that may different from the other higher education institution which located in town.

Student satisfaction is one of the dimensions discussed. Hill (1995) argued the need for the institutions of higher education to collect information on student expectation and not only during their time at university. According to Athiyaman (1997), consumer satisfaction and service quality continue to attract the attention of researchers and practitioners in a wide range of disciplines. Student satisfaction approaches may be an instrument for building a bridge between more traditional views and academic views on how to improve higher education and more market-oriented perspectives (Wiers-Jenssen et al., 2002, p. 193). Soutar and McNeil (1996) suggest that measurements of student satisfaction need to be more holistic.

As students are increasingly seen as consumers of higher education services, their satisfaction should be important for organizations that want to recruit new students (Thomas and Galambos, 2004). Similarly, Appleton-Knapp and Krentler (2006) indicated that students’ satisfaction with their educational experience should be a desired outcome in addition to learning.

2.2 Service Quality

Service is an identifiable, intangible activity that is the main goal of transaction that serves to meet the needs of customers. Service quality is the organization’s ability to meet or exceed customer expectation. Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry, (1985) described service quality as the ability of an organization to meet or exceed customer expectations. (The term ‘quality in education’ has been defined by different scholars, such as “excellence in education” (Peters and Waterman, 1982), “Value added in the field of education” (Feigenbaum, 1951), “fitness of educational outcome and experience for use”. “specifications and requirements” (Gilmore, 1974), “avoidance of defect in education process” (Zafiropoulos and Vrana, 2008 ) . Therefore, there is no single definition of education quality, rather, it would be more suitable to define the quality of education based on the criteria that stakeholders used to evaluate quality, and also to consider the competing views when assessing the education quality (Green, cited in Sahney et al., 2004).

Differentiation between product and service can be determined in terms of tangibility. According to Parasuraman et al. (1988), the characteristics associated with services consist of intangibility, perishability, inseparability of production and consumption, and heterogeneity. On the contrary to products, services are usually short-lived as they are consumed as long as the activity or process lasts. Thus, service processes are perishable and cannot be inventoried in the way physical products can. Further, services are consumed at the same time as they are produced without any clear transfer of ownership. As such, the customer plays an important part in the transaction of most services.

The most common understanding of service quality is its involvement with the participation of the teacher and student with regard to measure professional competence, and intimacy that affect the life-long learning. For instance, Li and Kaye (1998) argue that service quality deals with the environment, University image and interaction between people. They distinguish between process and output quality, where the former is judged by customers throughout the service and the latter, after the service. Focusing on continuous improvement is crucial to the sustainability of service quality.

Harvey et al. (1992) suggested that there is insufficient evidence that literature on service quality has had significant impact on higher education. This has been changing since then and education service quality has become a major issue in higher education in all parts of the world (Zafiropoulos and Vrana, 2008). However, Due to the diversification of educational institutions services, the subject of service quality performance has received increasing attention. One of the problems facing educational institutions seeking to improve service quality is that a body with meaningful performance measures has yet to be in existence. Sasser, Olsen, & Wyckoff (1978), listed seven service attributes which they believe effectively hold the concept of service quality. These include:

• Security - confidence as well as physical safety;

• Consistency - receiving the same treatment for each transaction;

• Attitude – respect;

• Completeness – the availability of supplementary services;

• Condition - of facilities;

• Availability – spatial and sequential customer access to services;

• Training- of service providers;

The essence of the concept of service quality is the disconfirmation of expectations theory (Dawes and Rowley, 1999). According to the disconfirmation of expectations theory, the comparison of the expectations and perceptions of services will generate the decision of disconfirmation (Ruyter, Bloemer and Peeters, 1997) and subsequently this disconfirmation affects the perceived service quality (Gotlieb, Grewal and Brown, 1994; Philip and Hazlett, 1997). Customers form positive disconfirmation when the performance of the services provided by the service provider exceeds their prior expectations, while, customers will receive the form of a negative disconfirmation when it exceeds previous expectations for the performance of the services provided by service providers (Ruyter et al., 1997). Negative disconfirmation of expectations will create negative impacts to the perceived quality of the services provided (Gotlieb et al., 1994). This relationship is supported both theoretically (Fishbein and Ajzen, cited in Gotlieb et al., 1994) and empirically (Brown and Sawartz, Parasuraman, et. al., both cited in Gotlieb et al., 1994) in the extant literature.

There are several models to for measuring service quality. Among the diverse services quality models, the Technical and Functional Quality Model (Gronroos, 1984) and the Service Quality Gap Model, also known as SERVQUAL model (Parasuraman et al., 1985) are the two most commonly quoted service quality models, and due to intangibility of product and its characteristics we use the function model. The model has been developed for the purpose of measuring perception of service quality. The SERVQUAL model of Parasuraman et al. (1991) proposed five dimensions of service quality: tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. SERVQUAL is designed to evaluate service quality as perceived by the customer. SERVQUAL is based on the perception gap between the received service quality and the expected service quality, and has been widely adopted in order to explaine consumer perception of service quality. These can be verified in the following five dimensions in relation to educational settings.

Responsiveness: includes the willingness of employees to assist with customers’ requests and resolve their problems, along with promptness of service such as waiting times.

Assurance: which refers to the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence

Empathy focuses on how to deal with the customer, such as personalized attention, using first names, knowing their preferences, and includes staff friendliness.

Tangibility. The challenge for institutions is to ensure the specifications of the service such as course content, delivery and application meet the expectations of their customers at all times.

Reliability. includes the provision of basic services as promised such as teaching the correct concepts in a university class, accurate medical diagnoses and stroke correction in a swim school.

The SERVQUAL model is frequently used and adopted in the existing literature to assess the students’ perceived service quality in the education industry (Russell, 2005). The SERVQUAL model that is developed by Parasuraman et al. (1985) is adapted in this research to measure “the gap between level of customer service expected and their perceptions of the actual service perceived. The SERVQUAL model provides valuable information on important areas like needs, satisfaction and value added. Soutar and McNeil (1996) conducted a pilot study using the Parasuraman et al. (1991) model of service quality in a single institution to determine student expectations and perceptions.

a study conducted by Cuthbert (1996) it has been found that among the dimension in Service Quality, the score for tangibility is the highest, followed by assurance, reliability, responsiveness and empathy. However he added that this does not represent tangibility as a main contributor towards satisfaction of the students as he believes it is the service encounter which is the determinant factor.

The relationship between tangibility and student satisfaction is that tangibility has a moderate relationship toward satisfaction similar with assurance, reliability and responsiveness. Only empathy shows a stronger relationship with satisfaction. Consequently, he proved that the service quality dimensions (tangibility, assurance, responsiveness, reliability and empathy) have a significant relationship with students’ satisfaction (Feigenba, 1951 & Kotler, 1987). However, that SERVQUAL instrument is suitable for measurement of service quality because it measures key aspects of service quality.

He showed that there were specific supportive objects known as peripheral aspect and the university facilities, which students consume such as restaurants and residential apartment that will directly and indirectly have a significant impact on the evaluation of the university. Based on the study by Umbach and Porter (2002), it also appears that the size or a number of faculties within a department in Higher Educational Institutions is important for explaining student satisfaction.

According to Dyson et al, 1996, the service quality is called for better and uniform output delivered by the service. Service quality in the service sector, especially in the higher educational institutions is a fundamental aspect of educational excellence If universities know how their students perceive the services provided, they may be able to tailor their services to a certain degree, which should have a positive impact on students’ perceived service quality and their levels of satisfaction.

With reference to the environment of higher education university, there is no doubt that it is becoming increasingly important that universities have a distinctive brand image in order to maintain their competitiveness in the market (Hill, 1995 & Parameswaran, 1995). In fact, many universities have increased their investments in order to distinguish themselves from their competitors, through enhancing the image of ‘prestige’ or ‘quality’ (Macpherson and Scapiro, 1998).

The service in educational institutions includes the treatment of students by staff, including the friendliness, concern is shown if the students has a problem, respect for feelings and opinions, availability of staff, capability and competence of staff. Moreover, it also includes the ability of the environment at the university to make students feel comfortable, and this sense of competence, confidence and professionalism in the lectures and lessons. (Oliver, 1999 & Philip, 1997)

2.3 Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction

Service Quality is commonly noted as a critical prerequisite for establishing and sustaining satisfying relationship with valued customers. In this way, the association between service quality and customer satisfaction has emerged as a topic of significant and strategic concern (Cronin and Taylor, 1992). In general, perceived service quality is an antecedent to satisfaction (Spreng and Mckoy, 1996).

Bigne, Moliner and Sanchez (2003) initiated that the overall service quality have a significant relationship with satisfaction. Ham and Hayduk (2003) have established that, even in the higher educational settings, there is a positive correlation between perception of service quality and student satisfaction, and analyzing upon the relationship based on each of the dimension of service quality, reliability has the strongest relationship followed by responsiveness and empathy, assurance and tangibility.

Service quality is important to marketers because a student’s evaluation of service quality and the resulting level of satisfaction is thought to determine the likelihood of repurchase and ultimately affect fundamental measures of business success (Feigenba, 1951 & Kotler, 1987).

Ham and Hayduk (2003) have confirmed that, even in the environment of higher education, there is a positive correlation between perception of service quality and student satisfaction, and analysis of this relationship is based on each of the dimension of service quality, reliability has the strongest relationship followed by responsiveness and empathy, assurance and tangibility.

Elliot and Healy (2001) indicated that student’s satisfaction is the situation in a short-term that results from the evaluation of their experience with the education service received. It should be emphasized that most of the studies on this issue were carried out within the context of analyzing student’s satisfaction for the most important services or the core business offered by universities (Harvey, 1995; Hill 1995)

Elliot and Shin (2002) found that the extremely important variables in the model that appear to directly impact overall customer satisfaction with the performance of the university are: excellence of instruction in major, able to get desired classes, knowledgeable advisor, knowledgeable faculty, worthwhile investment approachable advisor, safe and secure campus, overall quality of instruction, tuition paid is a, sufficient computer labs, clear and reasonable requirements to provide, availability of advisor; fair and impartial faculty, and access to information.

Spreng, 1996 argues that the functional relationship between perceived quality and satisfaction is exponential. In another words, (dis)satisfaction with more recent events will have a larger impact on perceived quality than (dis)satisfaction with previous meeting. The author explains perceived quality in terms of satisfaction with a manageable set of general university characteristics such as: focuses on teaching students well; library services, availability of staff for student consultation; computing facilities; recreational facilities; sizes of the class; level and difficulty of subject content, and the burden student.

Price et al. (2003) reported on the impact of facilities on undergraduate student choice of university. They surveyed a number of universities over two years in order to find out students’ reasons for choosing a particular university, they found that common reasons are being; it had the right course, availability of computers, quality of library services, good reputation of education, availability of “quiet” regions, availability of areas for self-study, quality of public transport in the city and a friendly attitude towards students. Clearly, the perceptions of students on the University's facilities is one of the major influences on their decision to register (Peters, 1982 & Umbach, 2002)

The quality of any of the service encounters, or “moments of truth” (Carlzon, 1989) experienced by customers are form part of the general impression of the service rendered as a whole, (Dale, 2003) and, implicitly, the impression of the organization itself. In a recent study conducted with 310 all male Saudi Arabian students attending the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Sohail & Shaikh (2004) found that contact personnel was the most influencing factor in student’s assessment of service quality. However, physical environment, layout, lighting, classrooms, appearance of the buildings and grounds and the overall cleanliness also significantly contributed to students’ concepts of service quality and has a significant on student satisfaction. Also he found that the main predictors of quality for students were found to be: professional appearance of the office; never too busy to help; staff dress smartly; and opening hours are personally convenient. Overall Banwet and Datta (2003) found that Intentions of students to re-attend the lectures or recommendation depends on the perceptions of quality and satisfaction obtained from attending previous lectures.

The extent to which students perceive the level of service performance meets their expectations reflects the quality of service (Zammuto et al., 1996). It was found that perceived poor service quality will eventually influence funding and viability in the university division by reducing the popularity of the institution and thus the number and standard of applicants. However, dissatisfaction expressed by users of the service directly, students, will have an effect. Student dissatisfaction, if on a sufficient scale, will result in fail applications in subsequent years as the reputation for poor quality increases, even though existing students are likely to be constrained to remain. Overall Banwet and Datta (2003) initiated that the students intentions to re attend or recommend lectures was dependent on their perceptions of quality and the satisfaction they got from attending previous lectures.

With regard to increase the demand for service quality that related to the students satisfaction as customer, several researchers have introduced the principles of Total Quality Management (TQM) into different aspects of the educational field as a step towards bringing better management to higher education (Eriksen, 1995). Total Quality Management helps to achieve comprehensive quality, and maintain excellence in higher education. According to Eriksen, 1995 indicated that TQM is very essential to reassure that institutions perform well and that the customers of higher education are being well served properly and more satisfied.

However, highly satisfied customers are likely to spread positive word-of-mouth, and in effect become a walking; talking advertisement for an institution whose service has pleased them and provide them with useful facilities, and thus reducing the cost of attracting new applicants. Achieving satisfaction provides a key competitive advantage for higher education institutions.

2.4 Research Framework

This study was adopted from Parasuraman’s SERVQUAL dimensions. The dependent variable in this study is overall student satisfaction that is evaluated by the overall satisfaction with the education in UUM. The independent variable in this study is service quality dimensions in UUM which measures the level of satisfaction with service performance. The dimensions included in this variable are tangibility, assurance, responsiveness, reliability, and empathy.

Figure 2.4: Research Framework

Assessing the Relationship between Service Quality and

Customer Satisfaction among international Students in UUM

Independent Variable Dependent Variable

Services provided by university






Customer Satisfaction



The current study aims at exploring the impact of service quality on students’ satisfaction in University Utara Malaysia

3.1 Hypotheses

3.1.1. Main Hypotheses

Ha: There is a significant relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction.

3.12. Specific Hypotheses

H1: There is a significant relationship between Tangibility and customer satisfaction.

H2: There is a significant relationship between Reliability and customer satisfaction.

H3: There is a significant relationship between Responsiveness and customer satisfaction.

H4: There is a significant relationship between Assurance and customer satisfaction.

H5: There is a significant relationship between Empathy and customer satisfaction.

3.2 Research Design

This study is a cross sectional in nature where the purpose is to describe the level of students’ satisfaction on facilities provided such as the library services, housing and bus services on campus, including hypotheses testing to determine the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction. The collection of data in this study where using survey method where questionnaire used to collect and gather the information.

For the current study, the quantitative data only were generated from structured closed- ended questions. The questions were administered to a sample of selected higher education’s students in UUM (international students).

3.3 Operational Definition

Reliability: The ability to perform the service in an accurate and dependable manner. It means that the company provides a service to its customers at a time without making any errors and delivers what it promised during the time that was agreed upon

Tangibles: It refers to the appearance of physical factors such as equipment, facilities used by a service company as well as to the appearance of service employees,

Empathy: It involves providing care and individual attention for customers. The company understands the customer problems and result in their favor, as well as customers with individual personal attention.

Responsiveness: The willingness to provide assistance and prompt service to customers. means that the employees of a service company are ready to help customers and respond to their demand as well as to notify customers when service will provided, and then give quick service,

Assurance: The knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to transfer confidence and trust. The behavior of staff will give customers confidence in the company that the company makes customers feel safe, as well as the staff and respectful and always have the necessary knowledge to answer customer questions,

Service quality: According to Parasauraman, Service quality is the difference between customer expectation of service and their perception of the service experience. Expectations are seen as desires and wants of customers.

Customer satisfaction: A pleasurable fulfillment response to meet some good, service, benefit, or reward. It is a measure of how products and services offered by the company meet or surpass customer expectations.

3.4 Instrumentation

This study used the questionnaire as a means to obtain the necessary data. There are three sections in the questionnaire, and consists of: the demographic factor, Section B: Measuring the quality of service in the field of education and facilities provided by UUM, and section C: Measuring student satisfaction. In section A, four question cover from the subjects of gender, age, race or ethnicity, and students’ semester of study. Followed by section B: service quality in UUM and section C: student satisfaction in the university. in this research the Instrument used is adapted from Parasuraman et al. (1990) with some of the items used extracted from LeBlanc and Nguyen (1997) using the five dimensions in service quality (tangibility, assurance, reliability, responsiveness and empathy) using the Likert scale from 1 for strongly disagree at all to 4 for strongly agree.

3.5 Data Collection Methods

A questionnaire were distributed and administered by the researcher personally to the respondent. This was way possible since the arrival of the researcher to respondents meeting of students as respondents in UUM. By getting information about the number of international students in UUM from BBS, the researcher’s method for data collection is by choosing the odd numbers of each room in accommodations and passes the questionnaire for students. After distributing the questionnaire, collect the questionnaires directly from students.

3.6 Sample

The samples in this study were international students studying at University Utara Malaysia. Respondent consists of international students (PHD, Master and degree students). This step is concerned with how many people that should be surveyed. According to Roscoe (1975), the size of the sample that are large than 30 and less than 500 are suitable for most research. Large sample give more reliable results than smaller samples. After collecting information about international students in UUM, it found that the number of them is around 2800 international students. According to Sekaran, if the number of targeted customers is between 2500 and 3000, then the sample size will be 341. The researcher selected 341 sample units only as the size of the sample was randomly due to the time constraints, cost and other human resources. 341 questionnaires were being distributed to respondents who are international post graduate students.

3.7 Data Collection Procedures

The data analysis for this study conducted through ‘Statistical software Package for Social Science or SPSS version 12. This study also tested reliability of the instrument so that it allows producing a strong and valid result. After giving the questionnaire for respondents, then questionnaires collected and start analyzing the information based on the data in the questionnaire.

3.8 Data Analysis Techniques

The latest version of statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) used for the statistical analysis. Items will be coded before entry into the computer. Cronbach,s Alpha coefficient computed to examine the reliability of the instrument. Cronbach,s Alpha coefficient measure reliability that range from 0 to 1. Cronbach,s Alpha value of 0.60 to 0.70 is considered the lowest limit of acceptability, while Cronbach,s Alpha values which are between 0.70 to 0.80 is adequate. The Cronbach,s Alpha coefficient values above 0.80 shows a high reliability of the question. Reliability used to study the property of measurement scales and the items that make them up. Reliability analysis help the researcher to calculate a number of commonly used measures of reliability scale and also provides information about the relationship between individual items in the scale.

Among the methods that used statistical analysis in the SPSS are reliability test, factor analysis, correlation and multiple regression analysis. A descriptive analysis is used to determine the respondent’s demographic factors, such as: gender, age, education, and occupation. The descriptive analysis will be used to describe their level of experience as well as their perceived customer satisfaction. The descriptive analysis is like means, frequencies and percentages used.

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