Service Quality at a South African University: An Exploratory Study


  • Christopher May
  • Peet Viljoen


The delivery of service quality by higher educational institutions will be become more prominent in the future for the success and sustainability of these institutions. The funding of South African universities by government is largely dependent on the attraction, retention and throughput of institutions. Therefore, it is imperative for management and academics to have an understanding of the perceptions and expectations of service quality of students, especially the academic performances at their institutions. The purpose of this study was to measure the perceptions and expectations of students with regard to a particular university in South Africa as to determine whether the university was meeting the service quality expectations of students. An adaptation of the SERVQUAL instrument was used to measure the perceptions and expectations of the students. A convenience sample was used to collect the data from students at three campuses of the institution. Service quality was measured by deducting the expectation scores from the perception scores (SQ = P-E). Negative scores indicate that expectations exceed perceptions meaning that the organisation did not meet the expectations of customers with regard to service quality. Only two of the perceptions minus expectation question scores were positive, 21 of them were negative. This is indicative that the university is falling short in meeting the expectations of students. However, the scales were generic in nature and it should be interpreted with care and it is recommended that further in-depths focus group interviews should be conducted to measure the underlying nature of these shortcomings.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p882


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How to Cite

Service Quality at a South African University: An Exploratory Study. (2014). Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(20), 882.