Are university students really customers? When illusion may lead to delusion for all!

Are university students really customers? When illusion may lead to delusion for all! Purpose – The marketing concept is an idea that has been adopted in non‐marketing contexts, such as the relationships between universities and their students. This paper aims to posit that marketing metaphors are inappropriate to describe the student‐university relationship. Design/methodology/approach – The authors provide a conceptual discussion of the topic. Findings – The use of marketing metaphors appears sometimes to be indiscriminate and the appropriateness to use them in student‐university relationships is questioned in this article. Research limitations/implications – This notion of students as customers has caused a misinterpretation of the relationship between universities and students. Practical implications – Students should not be viewed as customers of the university, but as citizens of the university community. The contention contained within this paper is that the customer metaphor is inappropriate to describe students' relationships to universities. Originality/value – The use of marketing buzzwords does not contribute to a correct description or an accurate understanding of the student‐university relationship. On the contrary, misconceptions and misunderstandings flourish due to misleading terminology and contradictory vocabulary. These frameworks tend to be illusionary if used in non‐marketing contexts, such as universities. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Educational Management Emerald Publishing

Are university students really customers? When illusion may lead to delusion for all!

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0951-354X
DOI
10.1108/09513540710716795
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The marketing concept is an idea that has been adopted in non‐marketing contexts, such as the relationships between universities and their students. This paper aims to posit that marketing metaphors are inappropriate to describe the student‐university relationship. Design/methodology/approach – The authors provide a conceptual discussion of the topic. Findings – The use of marketing metaphors appears sometimes to be indiscriminate and the appropriateness to use them in student‐university relationships is questioned in this article. Research limitations/implications – This notion of students as customers has caused a misinterpretation of the relationship between universities and students. Practical implications – Students should not be viewed as customers of the university, but as citizens of the university community. The contention contained within this paper is that the customer metaphor is inappropriate to describe students' relationships to universities. Originality/value – The use of marketing buzzwords does not contribute to a correct description or an accurate understanding of the student‐university relationship. On the contrary, misconceptions and misunderstandings flourish due to misleading terminology and contradictory vocabulary. These frameworks tend to be illusionary if used in non‐marketing contexts, such as universities.

Journal

International Journal of Educational ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 23, 2007

Keywords: Students; Marketing theory

References

  • The marketing revolution
    Keith, R.J.

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