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Journal of Services Marketing

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Purpose – Service firms constantly look for ways to differentiate their offering. Recently, personal values have emerged as a way to understand how customers fulfill deeper needs when consuming a service. This paper aims to examine how personal values operate in the evaluation of higher education services. Like other services, marketing has become essential to higher education as universities compete aggressively for students and differentiate their service offerings. Although attribute-based measures such as SERVQUAL provide useful information to service providers, personal values may offer a deeper understanding of how customers judge the quality and desirability of an educational institution’s services. This study seeks to determine whether personal values in higher education affect perceptions of overall value, satisfaction, and behavioral outcomes including loyalty and intention to recommend.
Design/methodology/approach – A survey measured student personal values, service quality, satisfaction, and behavioral outcomes in the USA – the largest exporter of higher educational service, and India – the largest net importer. Data were analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis, path analysis, and t-tests.
Findings – The results describe the impact of personal values on satisfaction and behavioral outcomes, while showing differences between India and the USA.
Research limitations/implications – The paper provides implications for applying the personal values concept to the marketing of a university. It also serves as a basis for future research on the impact of personal values in other service sectors.
Originality/value – The study fills an important gap in the literature by showing that personal values are an important dimension in services. Service firms need to move beyond attributes and measure personal values, as these values do impact customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Accepted version. Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 25, No. 1 (2011): 33-46. DOI. © 2011 Emerald. Used with permission.

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