Sex doesn't matter: The role of gender in the formation of student-university relationships

Jana Bowden*, Leigh Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


As competition intensifies, higher education providers are facing ever more complex challenges in attracting and retaining students. These new marketing challenges have necessitated a need to more comprehensively understand the factors that lead to positive perceptions of the institutions services, as well as positive referral of the brand. This research focuses on students' perceptions of the importance of satisfaction, trust, and commitment in the development of student loyalty. In particular this research examines whether or not these antecedents differ for male versus female students. A structural equation modelling approach was adopted using a sample of 447 students. Despite literature which characterises males as task oriented, and females as relationship oriented, gender did not influence the salience of the antecedents to loyalty. These results show that first and foremost both gender groups seek to form affective and emotional bonds with their institution and hence a sense of psychological closeness to it. Student satisfaction was found to be the second most important driver of loyalty across both genders. Conclusions, implications and opportunities for future research are presented. From a managerial perspective, it is expected that uncovering the importance of key relationship marketing constructs between genders will enable higher education institutions to develop more targeted relationship marketing programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-156
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Marketing for Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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