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SERVICE QUALITY – CASES OF PRIVATE HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS EXPLORED

Riaan Dirkse van Schalkwyk, Rigard J. Steenkamp

DOI: 10.22495/cocv11i2c4p5

Abstract

The South African higher education landscape has changed significantly. PHEIs (private higher education institutions) play a more important role although they are not yet fully acknowledged as higher education “universities”. This may be a strategic incentive for service quality excellence. It seems if the market responds well to PHEIs, because they complement the higher educational need and cater for unique niche markets. The article reports on the level and importance of service quality in three cases of South African PHEIs with the focus on primary service quality dimensions. The purpose of the study was to explore the strategic importance of service quality at PHEIs per se, its general service quality status and their endeavours to manage (measure and improve) service quality. The investigation followed a mixed method approach and applied interviews, observation and questionnaire surveys (using the SERVQUAL instrument). Case research has consistently been of the most powerful research methods in operations and quality management, particularly in contributing to the paucity of literature and the development of new theory and/or new hypotheses. Besides the paucity of literature, the results indicate that service quality at the PHEIs is a high strategic priority and may be a higher priority than service quality at public universities (a hypothesis for further investigation).

Keywords: SERVQUAL, Quality Assurance, Service Quality, Service Quality Dimensions, Private Higher Education, Competitive Advantage

How to cite this paper: Van Schalkwyk, R. D., & Steenkamp, R. J. (2014). Service quality – Cases of private higher education institutions explored. Corporate Ownership & Control, 11(2-4), 402-414. http://doi.org/10.22495/cocv11i2c4p5

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