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Re-examining Higher Education as a Service system Alistair Sutcliffe Visiting Professor, UCL Interaction Centre, University College, London CSR, Manchester,

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Presentation on theme: "Re-examining Higher Education as a Service system Alistair Sutcliffe Visiting Professor, UCL Interaction Centre, University College, London CSR, Manchester,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Re-examining Higher Education as a Service system Alistair Sutcliffe Visiting Professor, UCL Interaction Centre, University College, London CSR, Manchester, May 25 th 2012

2 Presentation Outline 1.Higher Education as a service ? 2.Service Quality and Gaps analysis 3.Motivations & values in HE services 4.Implications for services marketing and research agenda

3 Service Systems- Conceptual Frameworks IHIP (Kotler 2003, Pride and Ferrell 2003) Intangibility, Heterogeneity, (variability) Inseparability, Perishability, Rental Access Model (Lovelock & Gummesson 2004) Physical act on Person, Physical act on Object, Mental act on person, Information Processing Services are ‘rented’ and ‘experienced’ … so what is the student experience ? Services are composed and co- experienced Provider- Consumer relationship Services as transient acts and resources Access not ownership

4 HE Products or Services ? Education to attain a degree (product view) General skills and vocational education Learning for life (meta learning) Social learning and experience- networking Perceived rewards: degree commodity- improved earning and career potential social experience- ‘best time of my life’ (hedonism) and personal learning

5 HE Challenges Students as paying customers- more focus on value for money More regulation from government- quality assurance Declining resources from government More competition- world HE market place Need to re-think Higher Education - as flexible services rather than products - focus on service quality - manage the consumer relationship- HE service marketing

6 HE Service Quality Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1988): Tangibles University Infrastructure and facilities often tired and poorly maintained Reliability Variable depends on individual lecturers, courses, departments Responsiveness Variable as above, but standardisation- service levels may help Assurance Depends of staff student relationship and staff reputation Empathy Depends of staff attitude, personal skills, and accessibility

7 Service Quality- SERVQUAL Gaps GAP 1: (Knowing customers’ expectations) Many student surveys- but do we ask the right questions ? Tendency to treat students as a homogenous population No in depth research on students’ motivations and values GAP 2: (Wrong service quality standards) More and more standards- but HE as a formula, commodity experience ?? Standards create an impersonal experience (empathy ??) GAP 3: (Service performance) Poor staff morale Inadequate support (support service quality) GAP 4: (Promises do not match delivery) Manchester as a world class University (erm ?? Look at delivery in the USA) GAP 5: (Customer satisfaction) National Student survey – oh dear !- but is it the whole story ?

8 Service Quality - threats Increased student numbers- less resource to maintain reliability, responsiveness, etc Tuition fees- students as consumers- attitude change Increased pressure on research and teaching quality from government Organisational response More standardisation of teaching process, documentation, delivery and assessment Outsourcing effort to technology (Blackboard) and students themselves- more use of TAs and peer mentoring But what is the impact on Service Quality ??

9 A way forward ? 1.We need a more sophisticated view of student experience and expectations of HE service 2.Student experience needs to be tailored- customised marketing and delivery 3.Short term (at Uni) and long term (post Uni) perceptions of HE quality need to be reconciled Values- motivations- rewards need to be understood Service delivery needs to be aligned to students’ values and motivations

10 Service Motivations & Values Short term Long term Service Delivery Service Delivery Service Delivery Service Marketing Service Delivery Consumer Motivations & Goals Service Delivery Value Realisation Consumer Groups expectation management

11 Motivations for Higher Education Achievement Esteem Curiosity Socialisation Belonging, security Identity Eficacy (Bandura ) Locus of Control (Rotter) Possession Power Self Peer

12 HE Motivation & Value Conflicts Short term Long term Social Experience Hedonism Attain a Degree Reduce cost Commodity Education “dumbing down” degree standards University Reputation Career progress Enhanced earnings Meta-learning? Social learning?

13 Student experience - longer term Initial Experience Mid term Experience Long-term Value perception Achievement Self esteem Value appreciation Meta learning Efficacy Value growth Reputation Peer Esteem Social Identity QoS Quality of Service Relationship

14 Implications for Service Marketing Value proposition- - Need to emphasise value delivery over the whole life span - Make the links clear ….reputation has to be earned - No gain without some pain – commodity education devalues value in the long term Connect the implicit –learning for life with immediate service delivery Explain value proposition to overcome the hump of indifference Learning effort Value reward & motivation

15 Implications for Services Marketing-2 For longer term Value realisation Relationship {trust} is important as well as the service {experience} - personal relationships, no anonymous students - organisational transparency, active response to feedback Co creation in value realisation / service experience - more {student} involvement In course delivery - more involvement in university management Personalise with perspective - better explanation of learning goals (beyond PDPs) - better connection current {prospective} students with alumni

16 Implications for Service Delivery More resources, more staff more personalised service, etc the ideal but realistic ? Different learning methods, team mentoring, beyond PBE to learning by involvement staff/TAs as a team member More Socratic tutorial based discussion & personal contact Knowledge delivery by demonstration, discovery and co-creation - so what gives ? Maybe lectures, knowledge content on the web/Blackboard

17 Implications for Service Delivery-2 Tune delivery to student ability… cohorts and individuals - high ability students- learning is self motivating, but need to stretch their horizons- co creation of value in meta learning. - mid band ability- learning is more achievement motivated, need to emphasise efficacy, peer esteem, and locus of control how ? research on self awareness and collective awareness - lower ability band- differentiate learning difficulties from poor motivation Less standardisation in process and assessment

18 Research Agenda I Surveys of student motivations using theory directed questions Scenario analysis of students’ value perceptions and short v. long term value trade offs. Case studies of different learning methods with follow up evaluations of value Comparison of service delivery in new Universities (more responsive products and delivery?) and old Universities (reputation and meta learning value)

19 Research Agenda II Flexible composition of HE services- beyond modules, courses, degrees Life long consumer relationship subscription Universities, services for life long learning Marketing HE service value reputation and responsibility student awareness of their individual contribution to the collective reputation Responsiveness and Assurance new processes for student involvement –co design of courses ?

20 Some Carry-home Messages HE Services are not perishable, value is co-created and realisation long term Time to re-think…. - Alumni relationships- not just a cash cow - HE service ‘composition’ beyond modules to continuum of research.. Tutorials… Exec Ed… Workshop seminars.. Etc - Student Experience, short and the long term

21 Any questions ? and some references for the curious Lovelock CH, Gummesson E (2004) Whither services marketing? In search of a new paradigm and fresh perspectives. Journal of Service Research 7(1): Lovelock CH, Wirtz J (2007) Services marketing: People, technology, strategy (6th edition). Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River. Lusch RF, Vargo SL (2006) The service-dominant logic of marketing: Dialog, debate, and directions. M.E. Sharpe, Armonk. Vargo SL, Lusch RF (2008) Service-dominant logic: Continuing the evolution. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 36(1):1-10. Soares L, and Ostrom A. (2012) College as a Service CaaS, Inside Higher Education Amy L. Ostrom, Mary Jo Bitner, Stephen W. Brown, et al (2010), Moving Forward and Making a Difference: Research Priorities for the Science of Service. Journal of Service Research : 4 Sutcliffe, A. G. (2002). The Domain Theory: Patterns for knowledge and software reuse. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Sutcliffe, A. G., & Lammont, N. (2002). The Planet method for designing relationships in B2B e-commerce. Proceedings: Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Hawaii 7-10 January 2002, (pp ). Los Alamitos CA: IEEE Computer Society Press. Sutcliffe, A. G., & Lammont, N. (2001). Business and IT requirements for B2B e-commerce. International Journal of New Product Development & Innovation Management (Dec/Jan),


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