Post-choice satisfaction of international postgraduate students from Asia studying in Victorian universities

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Arambewela, Rodney Amarasinghe (2003) Post-choice satisfaction of international postgraduate students from Asia studying in Victorian universities. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


This research examines the relative customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction (CS/D) of international post-graduate students from Asia with the university as a study destination. The investigation is guided by the main research question: Are there differences in the level of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction between international postgraduate students from Asia studying in Victorian universities? A conceptual model of post-choice satisfaction is developed and tested to support the analysis of four groups of students from China, India, Indonesia and Thailand studying in five universities in Victoria: Deakin University, La Trobe University, Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Melbourne and Victoria University of Technology. The research comprised two interrelated studies: a qualitative investigation, and a quantitative study. The qualitative study included a literature review and an exploratory study, which consisted of focus groups and depth interviews, and the development of the preliminary model of post-choice satisfaction. The analysis of this stage resulted in the identification of 36 variables influencing post-choice satisfaction of students, which were operationalised in a survey questionnaire based on the seminal expectancy disconfirmation paradigm and the SERVQUAL instrument. A final model of post-choice satisfaction was developed following the preliminary analysis of the qualitative data, and tested at the quantitative stage of the study. During this stage, the total variables included in the model were reduced to 26 variables within four composite constructs that were used to measure CS/D supplemented by the testing of eleven hypotheses using multiple techniques. The results showed that there were differences in the level of satisfaction between student groups and universities. In terms of the overall satisfaction, there were significant differences in the number of satisfied students, with students from India recording the lowest satisfaction levels followed by students from Thailand, Indonesia and China. The tests of significance indicated that education standards and facilities (UNISAT1) customer value and study outcomes (UNISAT3), and image, prestige and recognition (UNISAT4), were the most dominant factors in influencing post-choice satisfaction among student groups. Among the classificatory variables, age and semester were the most significant in explaining the variances in the satisfaction levels of students. High student expectations, the strength of student-lecturer relationship, the perceived role of lecturers, university bureaucracy, lack of student friendly policies, passive complaining behaviour and the lack of opportunities for industry experience were among the key findings of the study, which were directly related to the student satisfaction formation process. The thesis makes a contribution to knowledge by developing a conceptual model of post-choice satisfaction, cross national comparison of post-choice decision making behaviour of international postgraduate students, the use of triangulation methodology to ensure rigour in research and particularly the use of ratio scores in addition to weighted average gap scores to measure satisfaction. At a practical level, the major findings of this research provide greater insight into the post-choice decision-making process of postgraduate international students, which would enable Australian universities to devise appropriate strategies to enhance their attractiveness and competitiveness in a highly globalised industry. Several limitations of the research are identified and suggestions for future research including more longitudinal studies to improve the validity of the research and the findings are presented.

Additional Information

Doctor of Business Administration

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Education
Historical > RFCD Classification > 420000 Language and Culture
Keywords post-choice satisfaction; international postgraduate; students; Asia; Victorian universities; customer satisfaction; customer dissatisfaction
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