Are students customers? TQM and marketing perspectives

Brennan, Ross and Eagle, Lynne (2007) Are students customers? TQM and marketing perspectives. Quality assurance in education, 15 (1). pp. 44-60. ISSN 0968-4883

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Abstract

<B>Purpose</B> - This paper seeks to evaluate the arguments for and against the proposition that students in higher education are "customers" and should be treated as such. <B>Design/methodology/approach</B> - A critical review of the relevant literature from the domains of total quality management and marketing. <B>Findings</B> - The debate is polarised, with advocates regarding it as self-evident that students are customers and should be treated as such, while critics regard it as self-evident that the incursion of the "customer" concept into higher education degrades educational standards and damages educator/student relationships. <B>Research limitations/implications</B> - Researchers should investigate whether the adoption of the terminology, systems and processes of the "student-as-customer" leads to a degradation or improvement of the quality of education and level of service delivered to higher education students. <B>Practical implications</B> - Ways are recommended in which the careful adoption of the term "customers" to refer to students could retain positive aspects - promoting the legitimate interests of students in the higher education system - while avoiding such potentially negative aspects as the problematic idea that "the customer is always right". <B>Originality/value</B> - The paper points towards a "middle way" by which educational policy-makers and managers can obtain the benefits associated with a "customer orientation" while avoiding the difficulties associated with a simplistic interpretation of the customer concept.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations
ID Code:1673
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Deposited On:23 Mar 2009 17:12
Last Modified:12 May 2014 15:37

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