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Title: A study of undergraduate students' reported commitment within higher education and the impact of that commitment on intentions to emit word-of-mouth communication
Author: Cownie , Fiona
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 4876
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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This work brings a relational perspective to the analysis of student experience. The study examines two important aspects of the relational paradigm, commitment and word-of mouth communication (Morgan and Hunt, 1994; Fullerton, 2011). Deploying a quantitative methodology to data derived from undergraduate students studying in four post-1992 universities, the research employs structural equation modelling to develop a framework which satisfactorily represents the relationship between students' commitment and word-of-mouth intentions within higher education. The research uses a multi-dimensional, multi-focus approach to commitment and develops a hierarchy of commitment for higher education. The research proposes and examines a new commitment-related concept, commitment balance, the balance between the commitment students feel towards the relational partner, be that institution or academy and the commitment they perceive the partner extends to themselves and the broader student body. The research finds that commitment balance between students and institution is a relevant construct within a relational approach to higher education. The research finds that undergraduate students have reasonably high levels of intention to talk positively about their institution and tutors. The good news for universities is that students strongly disagree that they have intentions to talk negatively about their institution and tutors. The outcome of the research is a model which suggests that intention to emit positive wordof- mouth is positively related to affective commitment towards academy, affective commitment towards institution and commitment balance between students and institution. The model also suggests that there is a weak but significant negative relationship between calculative commitment towards institution and intention to emit positive word-of-mouth. The paper provides a number of implications for practice, including the importance of investing in pedagogic strategies which develop students affective commitment towards academy. The research suggests the potential for H.E.I.s to develop an online platform to allow discussion of institutions in a similar manner to Trip Advisor, providing a more agile alternative to the N .S.S. The paper identifies a range of scholarly opportunities which emerge from this research, including further study of commitment balance and concludes with a proposal for a potential framework representing a relational approach to students' experience of higher education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available