Managing the quality of services in Saudi universities: students, staff and employers perspectives.
University of Southampton, School of Management,
This study deals with quality of student services and proposes a framework for managing quality in student services in Saudi universities based on key quality service requirements identified by students, staff and employers. The proposed framework seeks to address differences in quality values between the three groups while it builds on similarities in their views. This research used an inductive approach with qualitative and quantitative descriptive methods to examine the quality of services provided to students at four Saudi universities. Methodological triangulation was used, enabling discovery of different aspects through multiple methods of data collection which included focus groups, questionnaires to students and interviews. The findings reveal strong similarity and dissimilarity on many criteria between student, staff and employers, including the importance of developing skills, student services and high academic standards. Responses indicate a lack of congruence on those criteria that focus on student services’ processes. There are a number of criteria in which there is agreement between the three groups, most significantly, the importance of the teaching and learning function. Students’ engagement with the learning process through the lecturers’ ability to motivate students’ interests, facilitate subject knowledge, stimulate thought and develop transferable skills are considered by all three groups to be critical issues in managing quality. Both students and employers see the development of vocational and transferable skills as a significant issue. Pre university communications with high schools and post university communications with employers represent an area of concern by all groups. The study suggests that an approach to quality based on an understanding of key values of the main participants will facilitate shared understanding and quality consciousness within institutions
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