A Best-Practice Model of University-Students Relationship Development: An Empirical Study

A Best-Practice Model of University-Students Relationship Development: An Empirical Study

Raed Musbah Alqirem (Al-Zaytoonah University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan), Husam Mustafa Alnaimi (Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia) and Ahmed Shuhaiber (Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/IJKM.2018100104

Abstract

A university-student relationship has been viewed as a key to the success and continuity of private universities. Although keeping students loyal is a critical objective of relationship marketing, there is a limited theoretical and practical knowledge on which antecedents could be used to achieve this aim. The essence of this research is the development of a more comprehensive model of university-student relationship that could reflect a best practice, on the basis of a review of the literature, and the empirical investigation of this model by using a mixed method of qualitative (focus groups) and quantitative (surveys) approach. By sampling students in one private Jordanian university, results reveal that relationship strength and students' satisfaction can impact students' loyalty towards their universities. In addition, three relational bonds (financial, social and structural) can influence students' satisfaction. Finally, the study indicates academic and in-practice implications within the education sector, and suggests some future research guidelines.
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1. Introduction

Developing relationships between students and their universities is not an easy concept to formulate. The reason for this complexity arises as relationship marketing consists of range of activities that can mean different things to different students and universities (Peltier & Westfall, 2000). Indeed, in recent years, private universities have been challenged to create marketing programs that strengthen their relationship with students. According to Gummesson (1996), relationship marketing comprises of three key elements: relationships, networks, and interaction. Although many scholars identified the university-students relationship dimensions, there is a little understanding regarding the factors that influence this relationship, and what contributes to its development, especially for young and private universities. The subsequent sections review the relating literature and describe the dimensions of this relationship (relational bonds, satisfaction, loyalty and relationship strengths) and how they are related to each other.

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