Toward understanding non-centralized technology support in higher education
Robert Jonathan Jackson, The University of Memphis, United States
The University of Memphis . Awarded
The focus of this research is an examination of service quality provided by non-centralized technology personnel, Local Technical Support Providers (LSPs), at a southern research university. The SERVQUAL instrument was selected to measure service quality of LSPs within the Academic Affairs Division. The rationale for selecting and testing SERVQUAL was its purported diagnostic capabilities and its ability to measure service quality in a variety of settings as discussed in the literature over the past 20-25 years.
This research explored the overall service quality provided by the LSP units in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Reliability and validity of SERVQUAL was tested by examining scales, correlations, and factor analyses. Regression analysis was used to determine whether SERVQUAL dimensions significantly contributed to overall service quality provided by LSP units. Overall service quality provided by LSP unit types was examined to identify significant differences. For the purpose of this research, LSP unit types were defined by the types of customers primarily supported: academic and administrative.
The results indicated that SERVQUAL exhibits reliability and convergent validity but not nomological validity. This research confirms prior concerns about factor loadings of SERVQUAL. No SERVQUAL dimension consistently contributed significantly to explaining overall service quality. Significant differences in overall service quality were identified between the years of the survey and LSP units that primarily support administrative customers received higher overall service quality scores.
The results confirmed certain concerns with the SERVQUAL instrument and can inform other higher education organizations that are considering use of the instrument to measure service quality of non-centralized technology support units. The findings should inform future discussions regarding technology support models in higher education. This research could serve as a starting point for ongoing assessments of service quality provided by all technology professionals at the southern research university.
Jackson, R.J. Toward understanding non-centralized technology support in higher education. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Memphis.
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