Eyes on the Prize


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Poster for SRHE Newer Researcher Conference December 2013.

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Eyes on the Prize

  1. 1. Eyes on the prize; employability is the driver for entering Higher Education Purpose Methodology The purpose of this research paper is to hold up to the light the motives of a key consumer group considering making purchases in UK HE: UK sixth formers. The research makes use of SERPVAL, an established multi-item instrument for measuring personal values in the service environment developed by Lages & Fernandes, (2005) and assesses the applicability to the prospective UK higher education consumer. This research utilised a quantitative questionnaire using a five point Likert scale and makes use of SERPVAL. The total convenience sample came from four schools and consisted of (n=418) respondents across lower and upper sixth form. Research Objectives The questionnaire design aimed to address the proposed theoretical framework by establishing personal values, educational motives, HE attributes and social, informational and environmental influencers. The research objectives which arise are as follows: • To assess the applicability of the SERPVAL model to prospective UK HE consumer. • To investigate the personal values and motives of UK sixth formers. • • The educational motives scale (Bolger & Somech, 2002) was adopted and a scale to measure the importance of influencers was created from the literature search. HE attributes were grouped by the five major attributes of; cost, resource, environment, reputation and career were used. Data was entered using SPSS v.20 and statistical analysis carried out to establish reliability and frequency of all scales used. To evaluate the perceived importance of social actors, informational and environmental influencers in the evaluation process. School Year Frequency Lower Sixth 285 68.2 Upper Sixth To appraise the importance of institutional attributes in the evaluation process. Percentage 133 31.8 Year group of sample population Significance Findings Factor • • • The outcomes of our research will be of interest to marketing strategists within HE as well as to the various social actors that exert influence on sixth form students such as careers officers, teachers and parents. These findings enhance our understanding of the underlying personal values sixth formers are hoping to fulfill by studying for a degree and how they evaluate attributes in light of these. It is evident that open days are crucial influencers and therefore knowing what applicants are evaluating allows HEIs to tailor their offering at such events. The present study makes several noteworthy contributions to the field of services marketing, shows how the SERPVAL model can be used and adapted to suit the specific service sector and informs HEIs how consideration and choice sets are formed in this complex decision making process. Authors: Hayley Hunter, BA MBA and Ross Thompson, BA, DPM, MBA, ACIS (Chartered Secretary) MoƟvaƟon Total Importance % Instrumental Acquire profession 94.3 Instrumental Acquire degree 85.1 Instrumental Achieve high status job 85.1 ScholasƟc Expand my knowledge 80.8 Prospective students are most significantly concerned with performance approach goals and studying for a degree is intrinsically motivated. Career attributes feature highly, applicants want qualifications recognised by employers. ScholasƟc Intellectual challenge 76.6 ScholasƟc Self-fulfilment 74.5 Social Meet new people 67.5 Social Meet expectaƟons of others 38.7 Acquiring a profession is seen as a way of achieving self-fulfilment by gaining a sense of accomplishment. Social Publically and poliƟcally acƟve 34.9 Social Associated high status 29.9 Employability is the driver