Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Student satisfaction and empowerment through complaining in institutions of higher learning
by Karimi, Farbod, Ed.D., University of San Francisco, 2008, 155; 3345147
Abstract (Summary)

Student satisfaction and commitment to an educational program are important factors in determining student success. Although research on the subject of satisfaction has primarily been conducted in the context of business, particularly with regard to customer complaints and complaint management strategies, institutions of higher learning (IHLs) are beginning to adopt business models to increase student satisfaction and retention. Due to the pervasive perception of complaining as being negative, insufficient data exist to determine whether the act of complaining has an impact on students' sense of satisfaction and empowerment with their educational experience. Through one-on-one interviews with 20 students at an urban career college, this qualitative study explores students' sense of empowerment, satisfaction, and complaint behavior through the lens of students' experiences. The results of this study indicate that the act of complaining can be an important tool for students in addressing dissatisfaction with their educational experiences. "Honest" complaining was found to be especially effective, a term developed in this study to describe complaints wherein the students sincerely believed themselves to be in the right. Further, the participants in this study unanimously indicated that when their "honest" complaints were genuinely heard, they felt more satisfied and empowered by the experience of complaining, whether or not they received their desired outcome.

These findings suggest that some IHLs should consider establishing systems to encourage and address "honest" complaining as part of their overall strategy to elicit feedback, increase retention, and promote positive word-of-mouth.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Katz, Susan R.
School: University of San Francisco
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher education
Keywords: Complain, Complaining, Culture, Empower, Empowerment, Higher education, Higher learning, Satisfaction, Student
Publication Number: 3345147
ISBN: 978-1-109-90086-6
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