The Student as ‘customer’: relationship management in higher education

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution


Increasingly organisations are recognising the value of establishing close relationships with their customers. Despite this, research has not deeply explored how the intangible aspects of relational exchange combine to determine loyalty in the higher education sector. This is in part a result of reluctance within the sector to view students as customers of institutional brands. This research uses a structural equation modelling approach and a sample of 474 students to examine firstly, selected determinants of loyalty within the higher education sector and secondly, the role of relationship strength as a moderator of those determinants. The results indicate that student loyalty was most strongly determined by psychological attachment, and a sense of belonging to the brand. Student satisfaction whilst a contributing determinant, alone was insufficient in generating loyalty. Importantly, whilst relationship strength has been found to determine loyalty in other service contexts, the drivers of loyalty remained the same despite the strength of the relationship that students perceived that they had with their institution.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationANZMAC 2011
Subtitle of host publicationconference proceedings : Marketing in the age of consumerism : Jekyll or Hyde?
Place of PublicationPerth
PublisherANZMAC2011 Conference
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)9780646563305
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventAustralian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference (2011) - Perth
Duration: 28 Nov 201130 Nov 2011


ConferenceAustralian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference (2011)


  • student loyalty
  • customer orientation
  • relationship marketing
  • higher education


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