The Market Oriented University

The Market Oriented University

Transforming Higher Education

John A. Davis and Mark A. Farrell

The next decade will be transformative for the higher education sector. Government funding is decreasing. Through their marketing activities universities have created the ‘student consumer.’ The student consumer is prepared to shop around, compare prices and value, and once purchased expects a return on their investment. Disruptive innovations are challenging traditional forms of learning and in many cases are viewed as better alternatives to traditional learning in the classroom. Competition from private educational providers is increasing. Their cost base is lower, and their customer focus is superior. In short, universities around the world are facing a perfect storm. While experts don’t expect the higher education sector to collapse under these challenges, they do believe that for some institutions the future looks bleak. If universities are to avoid closures or mergers, they will need to adopt a market-oriented approach.

Chapter 3: Delivering student satisfaction

John A. Davis and Mark A. Farrell

Subjects: business and management, management education, management and universities, marketing, education, management and universities, management education


With a competitive higher education sector, and students forced to pay more for their education, it is inevitable that students, their parents and other stakeholders will begin to view universities as providers and students as consumers. In this chapter we examine the metaphor of student as consumer and how this affects the staff/student relationship. We also discuss the importance of customer satisfaction as a metric for assisting universities to become more competitive, and how increasing customer/student satisfaction can lead to significant benefits for universities.

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