A total quality service framework for private higher education in South Africa
- Quality Management Journal
- March 2020
- Volume 27 Issue 2
- pp. 106-119
- Dirkse van Schalkwyk, Riaan, Johan Steenkamp, Rigard
The primary purpose of this study was to develop an industry-specific total quality service framework for private higher education institutions in South Africa. Service quality for higher education operations is a key performance objective due to the increasingly competitive, marketing-oriented, and highly regulated environment. Using a mixed methods research approach (exploratory sequential mixed methods research design), this research was conducted at six private higher education institutions. The first stage consisted of a qualitative exploration of total quality service dimensions from a top management perspective by means of semi-structured, in-depth interviews, followed by a thematic data analysis approach. Instrument development followed in the second primary stage, in terms of the quantitative exploration of the importance of total quality service dimensions from the internal (lecturers) and external (students) customer perspectives. Data analysis included an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) approach followed by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). A final step was another thematic analysis of narrative data from the only open-ended question, which yielded additional service quality dimensions. Finally, a total quality service framework was compiled consisting of five primary constructs. This study is a pioneering contribution that bridges a significant gap with the development of the first total quality service framework for private higher education institutions in South Africa.