Managing relationships: insights from a student gratitude model
Fazal e Hasan, SM and Mortimer, G and Lings, I and Sekhon, H and Howell, K, Managing relationships: insights from a student gratitude model, Research in Higher Education, 92 pp. 98-119. ISSN 0361-0365 (2021) [Refereed Article]
This paper develops a student relationship model which highlights the role of gratitude in impacting students’ positive perceptions, attitudes, and behavioral intentions towards their higher education providers. Using theories from services marketing and positive psychology, we develop and test a gratitude relationship model. A field survey, employing existing measures, was used to elicit data from 1104 respondents of public, private, and semi-public Pakistani universities. The results of this current research empirically demonstrate the role of gratitude as a mediating mechanism that explains the impact of a university’s relationship investments on students’ positive perceptions, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. This study contributes to higher education and services marketing literature by examining the emergent role of gratitude in students’ perceptions of investments made by their universities and students’ positive emotions, attitudes, and behavioral intentions, such as involvement and long-term relationship intentions, respectively. This research encourages university decision-makers to implement relationship-building strategies beyond that of the purely economic, such as scholarships, that seek to enhance the emotion of gratitude, which will lead to higher levels of perceived value of the relationship, involvement, and intentions to build long-term relationships with the university. This is the first study that highlights the role of gratitude as having an impact on students’ perceptions, attitude, and behavioral intentions. Our student relationship model offers a better psychological explanation of how student gratitude may generate direct benefits for universities.