Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Expectations as the basis for predictive segmentation of university service quality

  • 137 Accesses


In the service sector in general and in the increasingly competitive area of education in particular, it is now being suggested that supply must be as closely adapted to the market as possible. The design of such strategies must be based on recognition and understanding of different market demands and needs. This work emphasises the use of student expectations as a subjective criteria to identify variety of demand in the context of university teaching. We offer proposals on the best way of evaluating the expectation concept based on the different approaches in the literature and we show how they can be used to analyse the different groups of students studied explaining the essential attributes for achieving the degree of service quality perceived by each group.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Andreassen, T.W. (2000): Antecedents to Satisfaction with Service Recovery.European Journal of Marketing, 34 (1/2), pp. 156–175.

  2. Athanassopoulos, A.D. (2000): Customer Satisfaction Cues to Support Market Segmentation and Explain Switching Behaviour.Journal of Business Research, 47 (3), pp. 57–65.

  3. Bagozzi, R.P. and Yi, Y. (1988): On the Evaluation of Structural Equation Models.Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 6 (1), pp. 74–94.

  4. Barrera, R. and Reyes, M.C. (2003): Análisis Comparado de las Escalas de Medición de la Calidad de Servicio. InXIII Jornadas Hispano-Lusas de Gestión Científica. La Empresa Familiar en un Mundo Globalizado. Lugo: Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, pp. 285–294.

  5. Bekkering, E. and Engelland, B. (2002): Extending Quality Assessment beyond the Classroom: The Campus Computer Lab Scale.Journal of Advancement of Marketing Education, 2 (1), pp. 18–24.

  6. Bigné, J.E.; Moliner, M.A.; Vallet, T.M. and Sánchez, J. (1997): Un Estudio Comparativo de los Instrumentos de Medición de la Calidad de los Servicios Públicos.Revista Española de investigación de Marketing ESIC, 1 (1), pp. 33–52.

  7. Boulding, W.; Kalra, A.; Staelin, R. and Zeithaml, V.A. (1993): A Dynamic Process Model of Service Quality: From Expectations to Behavioral Intentions.Journal of Marketing Research, 30 (1), pp. 7–27.

  8. Brown, T.J.; Churchill, J.; Gilbert A. and Peter, J.P. (1993): Improving the Measurement of Service Quality.Journal of Retailing, 69 (1), pp. 127–139.

  9. Buttle, F.A. (1996): SERVQUAL: Review, Critique, Research Agenda.European Journal of Marketing, 30 (1/2), pp. 8–32.

  10. Camisón, C.; Gil, M.T. and Roca, V. (1999): Hacia Modelos de Calidad de Servicio Orientados al Cliente en las Universidades Públicas: El Caso de la Universitat Jaume I.Investigaciones Europeas de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa, 5 (2), pp. 69–92.

  11. Capelleras, J.L. and Veciana, J.M. (2004): Calidad de Servicio en la Enseñanza Universitaria: Desarrollo y Validación de una Escala de Medida.Revista Europea de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa, 13 (4), pp. 55–72.

  12. Carman, J.M. (1990): Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality: An Assessment of the SERVQUAL Dimensions.Journal of Retailing, 66 (1), pp. 33–55.

  13. Caruana, A.; Ewing, M.T. and Ramaseshan, B. (2000): Assessment of the Three-Column Format SERVQUAL: An Experimental Approach.Journal of Business Research, 49 (1), pp. 57–65.

  14. Casanueva, C.; Periáñez, R. and Rufino, J.E. (1997): Calidad Percibida por el Alumno en el Servicio Docente Universitario: Desarrollo de una Escala de Medida. In Ruiz, M. (ed.)XI Congreso Nacional y VII Congreso Hispano-Francés de AEDEM. Ponencias y Comunicaciones 1997. Lérida: Universidad de Lérida. pp. 27–34.

  15. Comm, C.L. and Mathaisel, D.F. (2000): Assessing Employee Satisfaction in Service Firms: An Example in Higher Education.Journal of Business and Economic Studies, 6 (1), pp. 43–53.

  16. Cristóbal, E. (2002): La influencia de la Calidad Percibida en el Diseño del Establecimiento Virtual: Desarrollo de un Instrumento de Medida. InXI Congreso de ACEDE. La Nueva Economía: Retos y Oportunidades para la Gestión Empresarial. Zaragoza: Universidad de Zaragoza, page 67.

  17. Cronin, J.J. and Taylor, S.A. (1992): Measuring Service Quality: A Reexamination and Extension.Journal of Marketing, 56 (3), pp. 55–68.

  18. David, M.; Ball, S.; Davies, J. And Reay, D. (2001): Choices of Degree or Degrees of Choice? Class, Race and the Higher Education Choice Process.Sociology — The Journal of the British Sociological Association, 35 (4), pp. 855–900.

  19. Devlin, J.F.; Gwynne, A. and Ennew, C. (2002): The Antecedents of Service Quality.Services Industries Journal, 22 (4), pp. 117–136.

  20. Díaz-Martín, A.M.; Iglesias, V.; Vázquez, R. and Ruiz, A.V. (2000): The Use of Quality Expectations to Segment a Service Market.Journal of Services Marketing, 14 (2), pp. 132–146.

  21. Dill, D.D. (1997): Higher Education Markets and Public Policy.Higher Education Policy, 10 ( 3/4), pp. 167–185.

  22. Engelland, B.T.; Workman, L. and Sing, M. (2000): Ensuring Service Quality for Campus Career Services Centers: A Modified SERVQUAL Scale.Journal of Marketing Education, 22 (3), pp. 236–245.

  23. Fornell, C. and Larcker, D.F. (1981): Evaluating Structural Equation Models with Unobservable Variables and Measurement Error.Journal of Marketing Research, 28 (1), pp. 39–50.

  24. Fuentes, M. and Gil, I. (2006): Segmenting University Students on the Basis of their Expectations.Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 16 (1), pp. 25–45.

  25. Furrer, O.; Shaw-Ching Lin, B. and Sudharshan, D. (2000): The Relationships between Culture and Service Quality Perceptions. Basis for Cross-Cultural Market Segmentation and Resource Allocation.Journal of Service Research, 2 (4), pp. 355–371.

  26. Gil, I. (1996): La Evaluación de la Calidad de Servicio Percibida y Limitaciones de la Herramienta SERVQUAL.Revista Europea de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa, 5 (2), pp. 19–32. Gilbert, D. and Wong, R. (2003): Passenger Expectations and Airlines Services: A Hong-Kong Based Study. Tourism Management, 24, pp. 462–467.

  27. Ginter, J.L. (1974): An Experimental Investigation of Attitude Change and Choice of a New Brand.Journal of Marketing Research, 21 (1), pp. 30–40.

  28. Gowan, M.; Seymour, J.; Ibarreche, S. and Lackey, C. (2001): Service Quality in a Public Agency: Same Expectations but Different Perceptions by Employees, Managers, and Customers.Journal of Quality Management, vol. 6 (2), pp. 275–291.

  29. Gray, B., Fam, K.S. and Llanes, V.A. (2003): Branding Universities in Asian Markets.Journal of Product and Brand Management, 12 (2), pp. 108–120.

  30. Grönroos, G. (1982): An Applied Service Marketing Theory.European Journal of Marketing, 16 (7), pp. 30–41.

  31. Gurau, C. and Ranchhod, A. (2002): Measuring Customer Satisfaction: A Platform for Calculating, Predicting and Increasing Customer Profitability.Journal of Targeting, Measurement and Analysis for Marketing, 10 (3), pp. 203–219.

  32. Hammer, L.O.; Shaw-Ching, B. and Sudharshan, D. (1999): The Effects of Intraencounter Changes in Expectations on Perceived Service Quality Models.Journal of Service Research, 1 (3), pp. 275–289.

  33. Higgs, M.; Polonsky, M. and Hollick, M. (2005): Measuring Expectations: Forecast vs. Ideal Expectations. Does It Really Matter?Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 12 (1), pp. 49–64.

  34. Jang, S.C.; Morrison, A.M. and O’Leary, J.T. (2002): Benefit Segmentation of Japanese Pleasure Travelers to the USA and Canada: Selecting Target Markets Based on the Profitability and the Risk of Individual Market Segments.Tourism Management, 23, pp. 367–378.

  35. Joseph, M.; Yakhou, M. and Stone, G. (2005): An Educational Institution’s Quest for Service Quality: Customers’ Perspective.Quality Assurance in Education, 13 (1), pp. 66–82.

  36. Kim, D.; Markham, E.S. and Cangelosi, J.D. (2002): Why Students Pursue the Business Degree: A Comparison of Business Majors across Universities.Journal of Education for Business, 78 (1), pp. 28–32.

  37. Koskas, J.C. (1997): Les Liaisons entre Qualité-Satisfaction-Fidélité.Revue Française du Marketing, 164, pp. 89–101.

  38. Liljander, V. and Strandvik, T. (1993): Estimating Zones of Tolerance in Perceived Service Quality.International Journal of Service Industry Management, 4 (2), p. 6–28.

  39. Llosa, S.; Chandon, J.L. and Orsingher, C. (1998): An Empirical Study of SERVQUAL’s Dimensionality.Service Industries Journal, 18 (2), pp. 16–44.

  40. Long, P.D.; Tricker, T.; Rangecroft, M. and Gilroy, P. (2000): Satisfaction with Distance Education: Evaluation of a Service Template.Total Quality Management, 11 (4/6), pp. 530–536.

  41. McDougall, G.H.G. and Levesque, T. (1994): Benefit Segmentation Using Service Quality Dimensions: An Investigation in Retail Banking.International Journal of Bank Marketing, 12 (2), pp. 15–23.

  42. Miller, J.A. (1977): Studying Satisfaction, Modelling Models, Eliciting Expectations, Posing Problems, and Making Meaningful Measurements. In Hunt, K. (ed.)Conceptualization and Measurement of Consumer Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction. Cambridge (MA): Marketing Science Institute. pp. 72–91.

  43. Nunnally, J.C. (1967):Psychometric Theory. New York: McGraw Hill.

  44. Oliver, R.L. (1980): A Cognitive Model of the Antecedents and Consequences of Satisfaction Decisions.Journal of Marketing Research, 17 (4), 460–469.

  45. Oliver, R.L. (1996): Satisfaction: A Behavioral Perspective on the Consumer. Boston (M.A): Irwin-McGraw Hill.

  46. Owlia, M.S. and Aspinwall, E.M. (1998): Quality in Higher Education: A Survey.Total Quality Management, 7 (4), pp 161–171.

  47. Palmer, R.A. and Millier, P. (2004): Segmentation: Identification, Intuition, and Implementation.Industrial Marketing Management, 33 (8), pp. 779–785.

  48. Parasuraman, A.; Zeithaml, V.A. and Berry, L.L. (1985): A Conceptual Model of Service Quality Measurement.Journal of Marketing, 49 (3), pp. 41–50.

  49. Parasuraman, A.; Zeithaml, V.A. and Berry, L.L. (1988): SERVQUAL: A Multiple-Item Scale for Measuring Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality.Journal of Retailing, 64 (1), pp. 12–40.

  50. Parasuraman, A.; Berry, L.L. and Zeithaml, V.A. (1990):An Empirical Examination of Relationships in an Extended Service Quality Model. Report 92-122.Cambridge (MA): Marketing Science Institute.

  51. Parasuraman, A.; Berry, L.L. and Zeithaml, V.A. (1991a): Understanding Customer Expectations of Service.Sloan Management Review, 32 (3), pp. 39–48.

  52. Parasuraman, A.; Berry, L.L. and Zeithaml, V.A. (1991b): Refinement and Reassessment of the SERVQUAL Scale. Journal of Retailing, 67 (4), pp 420–450.

  53. Parasuraman, A.; Berry, L.L. and Zeithaml, V.A. (1993). Research Note: More on Improving Quality Measurement.Journal of Retailing, 69 (1), pp. 140–147.

  54. Parasuraman, A.; Zeithaml, V.A. and Berry, L.L. (1994): Alternative Scales for Measuring Service Quality: A Comparative Assessment Based on Psychometric and Diagnostic Criteria.Journal of Retailing, 70 (3), pp. 201–230.

  55. Pitt, L.; Morris, M.H. and Oosthuizen, P. (1996): Expectations of Service Quality as an Industrial Market Segmentation Variable.Services Industries Journal, 16 (1), pp. 1–8.

  56. Prakash, V. and Lounsbury, J.W. (1984): The Role of Expectation in the Determination of Customer Satisfaction.Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 12 (3), pp. 1–17.

  57. Prugsamatz, S.; Pentecost, R. and Ofstad, L. (2006): The Influence of Explicit and Implicit Service Promises on Chinese Students’ Expectations of Overseas Universities.Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 18 (2), pp. 129–145.

  58. Pyo, S. (1998): Effects of Service Quality Perceptions on Expectations.Journal of International Marketing and Marketing Research, 23 (2), pp. 81–90.

  59. Shank, M.D.; Walker, M. and Hayes, T. (1995): Understanding Professional Service Expectations: Do We Know What Our Students Expect in a Quality Education?Journal of Professional Services Marketing, 13 (1), pp. 71–89.

  60. Teas, R.K. (1993): Expectations, Performance, Evaluation and Consumers’ Perceptions of Quality.Journal of Marketing, 57 (3), pp. 18–34.

  61. Teas, R.K. (1994): Expectations as a Comparison Standard in Measuring Service Quality: An Assessment and Re-Evaluation.Journal of Marketing, 58 (1), pp. 132–138.

  62. Teas, R.K. and Palan, K.M. (1997): The Realms of Scientific Meaning Framework for Constructing Theoretically Meaningful Nominal Definitions of Marketing Concepts.Journal of Marketing, 61 (2), pp. 52–67.

  63. Tse, D.K. and Wilton, C. (1988): Models of Consumer Satisfaction Formation: An Extension.Journal of Marketing Research, 25 (2), pp. 204–221.

  64. Webb, D. (1998): Segmenting Police ‘Customers’ on the Basis of their Service Quality Expectations.Services Industries Journal, 18 (1), pp. 72–100.

  65. Webster, C. (1989): Can Consumers Be Segmented on the Basis of their Service Quality Expectations?Journal of Services Marketing, 3 (2), pp. 35–53.

  66. Wedel, M. (2001): Is Segmentation History?Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 13 (4), pp. 26–29.

  67. Wedel, M. and Kamakura, W. (2000): Market Segmentation Conceptual and Methodological Foundations. 2nd ed. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  68. Woodruff, R.B.; Cadotte, E.R. and Jenkins, R.L. (1983): Modeling Consumer Satisfaction Processes Using Experience-Based Norms.Journal of Marketing Research, 20 (3), pp. 296–304.

  69. Wilson-Jeanselme, M. and Reynolds, J. (2006): Understanding shoppers’ expectations of Online Grocery Retailing.International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 34 (7), pp. 529–540.

  70. Wu, J. and DeSarbo, W.S. (2005): Market Segmentation for Customer Satisfaction Studies via a New Latent Structure Multidimensional Scaling Model.Applied Stochastic Models in Business and Industry, 21 (4/5), pp. 303–309.

  71. Zeithaml, V.A. (1987):Defining and Relating Price, Perceived Quality and Perceived Value. Report 87-101. Cambridge (MA): Marketing Science Institute.

  72. Zeithaml, V.A. (1988): Consumer Perceptions of Price, Quality and Value: A Means.Journal of Marketing, 52 (3), pp. 2–22.

  73. Zeithaml, V.A.; Berry, L.L. and Parasuraman, A. (1993): The Nature and Determinants of Customer Expectations of Service.Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 21 (1), pp.1–12.

  74. Zeithaml, V.A. and Bitner, M.J. (2002):Marketing de Servicios. Un Enfoque de Integración del Cliente a la Empresa. 2nd ed. México D.F.: McGraw-Hill.

  75. Zeithaml, V.A.; Rust, R.T. and Lemon, K.N. (2001): The Customer Pyramid: Creating and Serving Profitable Customers.California Management Review, 43 (4), pp. 118–142.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Fuentes, M., Gil, I., Berenguer, G. et al. Expectations as the basis for predictive segmentation of university service quality. Int Rev on Public Marketing 4, 47–64 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03180754

Download citation

Key Words

  • Expectations
  • segmentation
  • service quality
  • university students