An Exploration of Student Satisfaction in the Business School in Huddersfield University

Subject: Business
Type: Critical Analysis Essay
Pages: 22
Word count: 5657
Topics: Business Law

Introduction and background information 

The measurement of student satisfaction is very important because it assists in pointing out the weaknesses in most institutions as well as pointing out areas whereby improvement has to be taken into consideration. The rate of satisfaction of most students usually goes beyond the teaching evaluations done within the university. It also encompasses the learning experience which the students gain from the various schooling activities. In order to understand the complexity involved in the various learning experiences, it is important to understand the degree and the rate at which the various students are satisfied with the various activities done in the university. The main aim of this study is to explain the various educational experiences associated with the student’s expression of satisfaction in the Huddersfield university business school. There are several features of student’s experiences in the college life and therefore, the general expression concerning the various actions have to be taken in order to maintain high levels of satisfaction and improving students learning activities has to be considered. Through a survey, the respondents rate a lot of aspects concerning their experiences in the Huddersfield University in the business school. They range from the skill development provided by the various courses in the business school, personal growth derived from the various courses in the university and the quality of the education curriculum offered in the university. 

From the various ratings done in this research, there is a great wealth of information obtained in this research for the sake of exploration purposes of the student’s satisfaction rates in the various university activities (Chen, 2008). The alumni’s of the Huddersfield University particularly in the business school have played a very important role when it comes to obtaining information concerning the overall survey. Information concerning their academic achievements, their current status of employment and the educational outcomes obtained is important in building up this research. 

Service quality is usually considered to be the perfect measure used in measuring satisfaction of customers. Marketing in most of the institutions has made a big shift from the product-oriented approach to the service-oriented approach (Carlson, 2010). With an increase in competition from other institutions offering similar quality of educational services, the various universities have to improve the quality of its services in order to maintain their customers. Higher educational institutions are considered to be service providing institutions and they have positive and negative impacts depending on the level of investment made in the service delivery. Teaching services in most of the universities have to be high because there is a high competition in the field limiting the level the student’s intake in most of the universities. A student is considered to be a customer when it comes to the higher educational services offered by the various universities. The relationship between the teachers and the students in most institutions may be a driving force towards success in most educational institutions. The full offerings provided by the university are also additional requirements in the universities assisting in providing success to the students. 

Many researchers have found a link between the quality of services and the satisfaction of the various customers in an organization (Danaher, 2008). Previously, the university of Huddersfield in the business school has been awarded a 90% overall satisfaction rate and score according to a survey done by the national student’s survey (NSS). The score is above the average university score of 88% of the various departments found within the university. The NSS research is usually an annual survey carried out especially to the final year student’s f most of the universities in the UK. It helps in measuring the effectiveness of the teaching services offered by most universities in the UK. The students who were involved in the survey in 2015 gave higher ratings for the teaching services, the personal and the academic development programs found in the business school in this university. Chris Cowton who is the head of the business school in this university expressed his satisfaction with the ratings provided by the former students of this university. 

Relevance of the topic

The topic selected in this research is relevant to the various measures used in evaluating the satisfaction of students to the university. The topic under study is very important because it builds up on the already existing results of the student’s satisfaction in the university facilities. The research builds up on the existing research on in various departmental activities and the teaching facilities in the university (Elliott, 2003). This shows that the research is relevant to the other researches done in the university concerning the same issue in the past few years.

Value and impact of the research

The evaluation of satisfaction and the dissatisfaction of students in the university provides information which is then used in order to find out the general weaknesses and the strengths of the business school in the university in order to improve. The value of this research is more because it builds up on the existing research in Huddersfield University concerning the student’s satisfaction. The impact of this research is more because it helps in establishing the relationships existing between the students and the teachers as well as the overall university. The results have a huge impact on the general perception of other students who want to join the school. Getting negative remarks may reduce the student’s intake and positive remarks may increase the student’s intake into the university.

Research aims and questions

The main aim of the research is to carry out an investigation in order to determine whether the student in the business school in Huddersfield university are satisfied with the faculty programs in the university. This is done through investigation of the various perceptions of service quality offered by the university.  

The research questions include;

  1. What is the relationship between customer satisfaction and the service quality provided by the university?
  2. What is the relationship existing between customer satisfaction and positive news in the department?
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Literature reviews

Satisfaction with the various experiences in college

Bean and vesper(1994) carried out a research meant to investigate the various differences in gender in the satisfaction of being college the research, it was found out that various social factors are very important to various women in the society. It was found out that the major and the occupational certainties found in the gender satisfaction have a significant relationship with the satisfaction offered to the men in the society.  For all the genders used in this research, it was found out that the confidence which comes as a result of being a student and having a lot of attractive courses are very important in research. The various authors suggested that the various members and the specific members in different faculties usually provide a lot of influence in the campus education (Asubonteng, 1996). Having attractive course usually builds up the self-esteem of the various people in the society and also it helps in improving the confidence of the students.  Having formal contacts with the various faculties is one of the most extremely important things in the first two years of college and university life.

In a research done by Pati and Tice (1993), they had an aim of establishing the relationship existing between the retention of various students and the college students  level of satisfaction  with the services offered by the students and the programs offered in the university (Brandon-Jones, 2010). The results existing in the various researches showed that there existed significant variance in the retention; this was predicted by factors like counseling centers, responses to the various items addressed and use of carrier service centers. The excessive use of the counseling centers and also the use of career services centers in most organizations are usually associated with various students making a choice of leaving the institutions which they are being offered education services although there is an expression of satisfaction in the level of services provided (Carey, 2002),. The author suggested that various students use the guidance and counseling departments in order to facilitate the retention of the students. For most of the students who used the various centers had a high probability of returning back to the institution as compared to the others who did not access those services.

Satisfaction has a lot of meanings as depicted by some of the researchers. According to Abu Hassan (2008) who cited the wok of Kotler and Clarke (1987), he stated that satisfaction is defined as the state felt by a person who has experienced a large outcome and it helps in fulfilling his expectations (Abu, 2008). The researcher went on to describe satisfaction as an act which can be used in covering the various student’s actions, perceptions and various experiences during the years which they spent in college (Kotler, 1987). 

Differently, Oliver (1997) defined the term satisfaction as the response to the fulfillment of the consumers. Satisfaction according to him is considered as a judgment that the features of products and services provided some pleasure while using the products (Oliver, 1997). According to him, the main finding of consumer satisfaction usually occurs during the consumption of the various services offered in the organization. Customer satisfaction is the evaluation of several services derived after there is a complete consumption of the product or during the consumption of a product or a service. 

Devasagayam (2013) stated that customer satisfaction is the satisfaction derived in an ongoing use of a service or the dynamic process of using a service (Devasagayam, 2013). The satisfaction of the various customers is usually achieved in the process of consumption of the various services. It can also be achieved after the consumption of a service or a product has been achieved. The evaluation of customer satisfaction is very important and therefore it forms a major subject of study in this research. 

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Perception of service quality in higher education institutions

According to sultan and Wong(2012) who carried out a study on the service quality, they cited Johnson and Winchell(1988) whereby they said that service quality is usually considered to be the characteristics and the general features of a product or a service (Johnson, 1988). This has an ability to provide the satisfaction expected and it is able to provide the stated needs (sultan, 2012). 

Gronroos (1984) explained that service quality is the quality perceived minus the quality expected. If there is a positive value in that difference it can easily lead to the formation of satisfaction generally (Gronroos, 1984). Theodorakis (2001) had some different thoughts concerning the service quality offered in an organization. He said that even the most satisfied people can provide a negative review about the service quality in an organization (Theodorakis, 2001).  The various individuals in the society are driven by the fact that they are expectant of the various social norms in the society making them have high expectations of how things might unfold. When the difference between the quality perceived and the quality expected is negative, the customers can still find satisfaction from the various services offered. 

Abu Hassan (2008) showed a different definition of perceived quality whereby he described it as the judgment of the consumers about a specific experience with a product or entity (Abu Hassan, 2008). Other similar researches done by Parasuraman (1990) concluded that the perception of the various service quality is taken to be a comparison between the various expectations of the consumers and their general perception about the services they offer (Parasuraman, 1990). In the evaluation of service quality, the various students usually consider the experiences of the past into account in their evaluation process.  Sultan (2012) stated that the various past experiences usually provide a baseline of the cognitive standards helpful in the evaluation of the various standards concerning quality of services in the present and in the future of service ratings. Therefore, the past experiences of the students usually count a lot when it comes to the provision of their expectations. 

Various researchers have been able to come up with various definitions which they ascribe to service quality. Researchers like Harvey (1993), Khodayari (2011), Holbrook (1994) and Wang (2002) had different definitions of service quality (Khodayari, 2011). The differences in the definitions which they gave to service quality depend on the context in which the word is being used in research (Harvey, 1993). For instance, definitions of service quality like the one provided by Gronroos (2007) are appropriate for the education sector and it is the best fit for this kind of research (Gronroos, 2007). This is because the research aims to establish if the students in Huddersfield University usually find their expectations are being met or exceeded. In research, it is important to measure the various differences existing between the expectations and the various perceptions of the students in the ratings of service quality (Holbrook, 1994). 

One of the most important methods used in the measurement of service quality in the use of SERVQUAL. This method is used in measuring the quality of services using five different dimensions. The five different dimensions used include reliability, responsiveness, tangibility, empathy ad also assurance. According to researches done by Parasuraman (1990), Lassar (2000), Kim(2003), Rodrigues(2010), martin(2012) and Abu-elsamen(2013), tangibility is considered to be physical evidence of the various services provided (Lassar, 2000). This might include the physical facilities and their general appearance. Reliability is considered to be the dimension which examines if various promises are being kept by the suppliers of various services, the accuracy of the services delivered, and also it explains about the mistakes made in the actual delivery considered to be free from mistakes (Kim, 2003).  In terms of responsiveness, it explains about the willingness to provide a response to the various questions and responses of the different customers. Assurance is able to provide the customer with a lot of confidence of doing all activities and establishes strong trust with the various individuals and also it improves their safety (martin, 2012).  Knowledge is a major requirement when it comes to the response provided to the customers. Empathy is the last dimension talking about taking various responsibilities of the customer’s problems and providing them with a lot of attention (Abu-EISamen, 2013). All these can be important in building up on this research because it provides an elaborate method of analysis the service quality in the educational sector (Rodrigues, 2010).

According to Chowdhary (2007), it is usually very hard to provide a generalization of the importance of the dimensions of service quality in an organization.  There is no clear elaboration of the number of dimensions used and their interrelationships used in research.  Service quality according to this research by Chowdhary (2007) has been measured using a lot of methods and dimensions in several types of research (Chowdhary, 2007).  In this research, the major consideration in the measurement of service quality is the use of the SERVQUAL model in research. The SERVQUAL model has been used previously in the measurement of the service quality and the method has been successful in doing that in the concept of higher education. Using the five dimensions of the SERVQUAL model, a clear elaboration of the perception of service quality is made.

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Quality of teaching and learning

In a research meant to investigate the things important to the students in the determination of the quality of teaching, Broder (1994) was able to find a general conclusion that various teachers and also various course characteristic are very important when it comes to the students.    In the research, there was a conclusion which was able to support their hypothesis in the research that various students in several classrooms usually value the human capital components of the various instruction offered in the classrooms (Allen, 2008).  Most students usually place a lot of and their earning capacities in future and the value of the contribution of the course to their human capital.  In research, there is a general conclusion showing that the several departments in schools would be able to provide special considerations to the various interpersonal skills offered in the prospective faculties. The research also recommends that they have to convey to various students about the relevance of the various existing courses in the research.

According to Volkwein (1994), he helped in explain the relationship existing between the teaching climates of various departments in universities and the undergraduate student’s outcomes.  In the research, it was found out that there was no evidence existing in order to support the various believes that research supports the teaching activities (Biedenbach, 2010). However, the research found out that there is less evidence needed in supporting the criticism that several research processes usually hinder the teaching practices. The findings of the research show that most of the best faculties in most universities usually occur in places whereby teaching and research are given equal weights.  In this research, the author was able to provide a hypothesis that most of the undergraduate environments in learning usually occurs in the research universities which also have a strong emphasis on the undergraduate programs in most universes. 

Governor Roy Romer (1995) provided important points helpful in understanding what constitutes the perception of high quality in undergraduate instructions provided.  Most of the political, education and the business leaders, the perception of high quality in undergraduate instructions is usually clustered under the desirability of the student’s outcomes in research, and the attributes of various institutions in research. The outcome of various students usually provides a bottom line in terms of the quality of the institutions, the problem-solving abilities present in the various institutions, the interpersonal skills found in the various institutions, communication and the ability to bridge various cultures in the various institutions (Bigne, 2003). According to him, the institutional attributes usually help a lot in ensuring that the conditions for the existence of quality included a commitment to various good and effective instructions, practices meant to ensure quality management, efficiency in the organizational activities and the integrity of the various operations carried out. 

Positive news

The notification that the Huddersfield university business school has a high rating before and it has some of the best business courses is positive news. Although the nature of different news is positive, it is very important to try considering the perception of both negative and positive news.  According to Hannabuss (1995), positive and negative news are not a reflection of the various realities in the society.  However, the pieces of news interpreted by the journalists are considered to be positive and true products and therefore they cannot misguide the readers (Hannabuss, 1995).  News are very important because they shape the way the society perceives a lot of things. 

The location and the proximity of news usually has a great impact on the various people if they are close to the various occurrences, according to Carpentier(2005), the news is often interesting if the current events are being analyzed because it provides an analysis of what is happening presently (Carpentier, 2005).  The positive news in Huddersfield University may affect the satisfaction of various students in a positive manner.  Therefore such kind of new is considered to be positive news. 

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Research sample and data collection

The methodology is the systematic method of analysis usually applied in the field of study.  The methodology is comprised of a theoretical analysis of various bodies of methods and also various principles associated with a specific body of knowledge. Various methodologies used in research are comprised of theoretical models in research, various phases of development, quantitative techniques, qualitative techniques and various paradigms used in research. 

Qualitative research is a method used in research and it gathers various pieces of information not numerical in nature.  The qualitative methods used in research use unstructured interviews, it uses the open-ended questionnaires and also it encompasses the unstructured forms of observations in research.   

Advantages of qualitative research data 

 The method explores various issues in a great depth and details as compared to the quantitative research

The method is usually less expensive as compared to the quantitative methods

 The method is flexible in terms of collection of data as far as timing and location is considered 

Disadvantages of qualitative research data

The method cannot quantify the number of responses of the various respondents in the research

The findings extracted in this method of research cannot be generalized in the findings

On the other hand, quantitative research is a method of research used to gather data in numerical forms and the data collected can be easily put into several subcategories and ranked in the correct order. The data collected in this method of study can also be measured in several units of measurement. This specific type of data can be used in the construction of several graphs and various tables of raw data. Experiments can be used in yielding quantitative data samples because they are concerned with the measurement of various things.  Questionnaires and observations are some of the other methods which can be used in measuring quantitative data as well as the qualitative data.  

Advantages of quantitative data

The method is very fast when it comes to collection of data

The planning process used for the various programs and the various messages in this method of research are reliable in nature and repeatable. 

This type of research is usually anonymous in nature helpful when someone is dealing with sensitive topics of research

The method is important because it can be used in the generalization of findings of the participants used in research

Disadvantages of quantitative method

The method is limited in terms of its ability to extract answers in research

The method can create bias in research because of the audience who are used in the extraction of information in this kind of research. 

Research samples and data collection

The specific kind of population targeted in this type of research are the business school students at Huddersfield University.  The sample size used in this type of research involves a total number of 330 students from the business school in the university. All the students who are attending single classes from the school of business are also included in this type of research because they are beneficiaries of the business department.  In order to obtain a lot of information concerning the research at hand, visiting the various classes when the lecturers are in class was made possible because the population of the students was clustered in one place. Through the use of self-administered questionnaires, information was extracted in this type of research. 

The response rates of the students are expected to be very high because the method used in the collection of data is reliable in nature.  The advantage of using questionnaires as the main methods of collection of data is that there are various respondents who were used in the research were able to ask a lot of questions during the research process (Miller, 2003). The lessons visited while extracting this piece of information was the lectures which had a lot of students. The response rate for the various students who were handed the questionnaires was 100%. 

Research design and measures

The aim of this research is to see if the students in the business department of Huddersfield University are satisfied with the services offered in the university. In addition is to examine if the positive piece of news about the university high rates of satisfaction in the previous years affect the level of satisfaction of the various students who are used in the research (Elliott, 2002).  Quantitate methodology of the study was used in this kind of research in extracting relevant information in this research.  The research is aimed towards finding the relationship between the dependent and the independent variables. The dependent variables used in this research include the customer satisfaction and the independent variables include positive news extracted in the research and the service quality offered by the university. Explanatory study is appropriate for this kind of research and the general structure and objectives used in this kind of research are related to the main method used in the extraction of information. 

The questionnaire used in this study was standardized in nature and its major aim was to measure the quality of services, the satisfaction derived from the students and the effects of the positive news presented in the research.  The questions used in the research are based on previous studies of the same subject used in the measurement of quality of the services offered (Lee, 2000).  The questions used before have been proved to be relevant in the context of higher education and therefore, they can also be applicable in this kind of research.  In the analysis of the service quality in the higher education division, information is collected concerning the service quality used in the higher education. SERVQUAL was used as the primary method in research and the various questions used in the research are conducted on the basis of higher education.  

Data analysis and results 

Demographic profile 

From the sample of the people who were selected in this study, the distribution of gender was 192 total number of makes and 138 total number of females who were used in this research.  The mean age of the various students who were used in this study was estimated to be 23.54 and the missing values I the calculation of the mean age were 10 respondents in the research.  in terms of the year of study of the various students who were selected for the survey, it was found out that 92 respondents were from the first year of study, 125 students were from the second year of study. 70 students were third years. 32 students were from the fourth year and 11 were students who had single units from the faculty.


In the establishment of reliability in this study, Cronbach alpha test was used in this study (O’Neill, 2003). This test is appropriate when evaluating the various groups of the SERVQUAL scale which included assurance, tangibility, responsiveness, empathy and reliability.  The groups are divided into expected values in the research and also the perceived values in the research.   All the groups used in this research had good values of Cronbach alphas higher than 0.7. The two groups which had lower values were the reliability and the tangibility which had values lower than 0.7.  The value of reliability was estimated to be 0.45 and the value of tangibility was 0.603. These values are in the acceptable range of 0.7 and therefore they can be validated in the research.  The missing values used in the research are due to the fact that some people who were expected to answer some questions in the research were not able to answer all the questions in the research.  This is because they were unfamiliar with the main subjects asked in the research and therefore they could not be able to respond appropriately. 

Table 1

SQ dimension Expected Cronbach alphasitemsMissing expectations Perception Cronbach alphasMissing perceptionitems
Tangibility 0.7895160.603257
Assurance 0.8045160.802187
Reliability 0.7194110.645174


Table 2

SQsumCronbach’s alpha 
Customer satisfaction0.905


SQsum is the grouping which takes place in all the mean gaps of the quality of the services provided. Cronbach alphas are the most appropriate measures used in the grouping of all the dimensions into one single entity. From the analysis, a score of 0.825 showed that the SQ grouping was possible in this research.  The customer satisfaction questions are also evaluated using the same CS question dimension approach. Its value according to the table above was 0.905. 

Gap analysis: expectations and the perceptions of the quality of services

Table 3: gap analysis

SQ Dimensions Expectations Mean Perception Mean Mean gap (P-E) 
Tangibility 5.454.57-0.88
Reliability 5.615.37-0.24
Responsiveness 5.224.80-0.42
Assurance 5.825.54-0.28
Empathy 5.184.84-0.34
Average 5.4565.024-0.432


The largest difference is found to be in the tangibility which has a gap of -0.88.  The smallest difference is found in the reliability which has a gap of -0.24.  The average mean gap shown in the sample is -0.432.  From the table, it is shown that the respondents have higher expectations of the service quality in the university than they perceive.  This can be used to show that the various students in the university are dissatisfied even though the gap existing is very small. From the data, the mean value of customer satisfaction is 5.516 and it exceeds the mean of expectations. This shows that the customers are satisfied. 

Hypothesis testing

The spearman rank order correlation is used in the measurement of the direction and the strength of the linear relationship existing in the quality of the services and the satisfaction derived to the customers and also the positive news and the customer satisfaction rate.  When the value of P is less than 0.05, then the relationship existing in the various piles of data is considered to be significant (Ooi, 2011).  As shown in the columns of the table below, the strongest relationship is exhibited at a rate of 0.26 between the service quality variables and the customer service variables.  The correlation existing between the customer satisfaction and the positive news in the research is found to be 0.317.  Values between 0.30 – 0.49 are usually ranked as medium strong correlation existing between two variables in the research (Ladhari, 2009). 

Table 4

hypothesisPath nCoefficient p-value
H1Service quality to customer satisfaction3200.4260.000
H2Positive news to the customer satisfaction3150.3170.000

  Out of the 315 respondents who were aware of the positive news of the institution, there were 294 individuals who rated its relationship with customer satisfaction highly. They strongly agreed on the value of the information concerning the university. This shows that the value of customer satisfaction is positive in this research.  These people who knew about the positive news about the institution expressed a high level of customer satisfaction in the results.  

Table 5

hypothesisPath B coefficient R-squarep-value
H1Service quality to customer satisfaction0.1130.1880.000
H2Positive news to the customer satisfaction0.3090.1250.000
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Regression analysis is carried out in this research in order to find out the extent to which the independent variables affect the dependent variables in this research.  B Column shows the extent to which the customer satisfaction is affected by the positive news and the service quality in this research.  For H1, if the quality of the services offered by the university increases by one unit, then the value of customer satisfaction will increase by 11.3%.  In R-squared, there is a percentage of 18.8 of the customer’s satisfaction used in examining the quality of the services offered.  The values of P in the research are considered to be significant because it is less than 0.05. 

Discussions and conclusion 

The general hypotheses in this research are showed to be supported. The relationship existing between the various variables is significant however; the values supporting them are low. This can be explained to be caused by the low values existing within one dimension. This would have been the possible cause of the decreased relationship between the variables in the research.  Another explanation which could have led to this is the number of questions used in each dimension used (Sureschandar, 2002).  Based on the regression analysis carried out in this research, both hypotheses is supported and significant. This means that both of them have positive impacts on the CS. The satisfaction felt by the students increased after they heard about the positive news. From the research, it is shown that news may have an effect on the student’s satisfaction through reminding most of the students about the news. 

From the table showing the students expectations and perceptions, the largest difference is from tangibility. This shows that the students expected more from the university than they received in return. From the various figures used in this research, there are positive means and the gaps existing in this research are negative. This shows that various customers can be satisfied despite low levels coming along with low ratings of the quality of services. People in the society usually tend to have higher expectations of various things because attitude is usually considered to be a social norm (Joseph, 2005).  The general expectations of services usually vary depending on the context under discussion. 

In the regression analysis, reliability has the highest impact on the customer satisfaction.  This shows that t has the highest impact on the perception of students. The questions in the questionnaire explaining about the reliability dimension were most influential in the extraction of information in this research. The university can focus on the reliability dimension since it is seen as the most important dimensions according to several students in the university (Wang, 2002). Assurance has a greater mean although the reliability had the greatest impact. The questions used in the questionnaire on assurance were related to the competence of the staff and the lecturers while performing their duties. The questions regarding reliability dealt with the general willingness of the various staff members in the university to assist the students.  The students in the university have a high perception that the staff is doing their jobs well and also there is a high perception that university staff really care about the students. 

Conclusively, the research suggests that the business school in Huddersfield University satisfies the various students in terms of the quality of the services.  The research helps in the identification of the various weaknesses and the strengths of the quality of services provided by the university. There are positive regression relations in the variables under study in this research.  The Huddersfield university students still feel that they are satisfied with the university improvements. 

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