Researchers have noted that word-of-mouth plays a very significant role in consumer decision making, particularly in the area of professional services. However, literature pertaining to its formation in the context of the commercial education industry is limited. With Singapore poised to become the education hub of Asia, this is an important area of study and formed the focus of the current research. More specifically, the research sought answers to the role of perceived service quality, customer satisfaction and commitment in word-of-mouth formation. Unlike prior studies in this area, an additional validity test was adopted for the current research that involved an examination of the extent to which the construct measures used were free of social desirability bias. Of the various customer commitment dimensions examined, the findings showed affective commitment to have the greatest impact on word-of-mouth formation. In examining how satisfaction mediated the formation of word-of-mouth, it was found that not all service quality dimensions affected satisfaction, a result that was contrary to what was expected. Particularly, it was the process-related service quality (functional service quality) that affected satisfaction. Finally, it was found that all the construct measures used for the present study were free of social desirability bias. While the study was originally planned to be conducted in one phase, this was extended to three phases following discriminant validity issues with the original measures, with a need for alternative measures to be used. What resulted was a study that was far more comprehensive and rigorous than originally intended.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2006|