Customer satisfaction at private higher education institutions in South Africa: an importance-performance analysis

Gerhard Bezuidenhout, Johan De Jager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Students are increasingly being recognised as discerning customers, selecting a provider based on its ability to provide a superior value proposition regarding attributes that are important to them. Unlike their public counterparts, private higher education institutions (PHEI) in South Africa receive no financial support from the government. To ensure students’ patronage, it is imperative for private providers to determine their expectations and how they rate the PHEIs performance.

An importance-performance analysis (IP) of 45 attributes was done based on data gathered from a quantitative survey of 600 full-time students at three different PHEIs in South Africa. A comparative IP matrix was also constructed to provide the PHEIs with a visual interpretation of the gathered data. The IP analysis yielded significant negative gaps between performance and importance regarding the attributes. The comparative IP matrix indicates important areas for strategic consideration to the three PHEIs respectively. This should assist management in improving their service offerings. This study should also contribute towards the very limited body of knowledge regarding PHEIs in South Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-229
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Contemporary Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • choice attributes
  • competitive advantage
  • customer satisfaction
  • importance-performance
  • private higher education
  • service quality
  • strategic management

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