New Applications for Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) in Higher Education: Understanding Student Satisfaction

Fraser McLeay, Andrew Robson, Mazirah Yusoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose - The constantly evolving higher education sector is creating a need for new business models and tools for evaluating performance. In this paper, an overview of the importanceperformance analysis (IPA) model and its applicability as a management tool for assessing student satisfaction in the HE sector is provided. The objective is to apply IPA in a new and novel manner, undertaking analysis at three levels; the individual student, for individual attributes and at a construct or factor level which combines individual attributes that are correlated. A practical application is illustrated, assessing the gap between the importance placed on specific student satisfaction attributes and corresponding levels of student-perceived performance realised. Design/methodology/approach - The “service product bundle” (Douglas et. al., 2006) is refined based on focus group evaluation. Survey responses from 823 students studying across four Malaysian private Universities are analysed using Factor Analysis and the IPA model utilised to identify importance-performance gaps and explore the implication of the iso-rating line as well as alternative cut off zones. Findings - Factor reduction of 33 original measurement items results in eight definable areas of service provision which provides a refined and extended management tool of statistically reliable and valid, constructs. Research limitations/implications - The research is undertaken in a business school context. Further research could focus on other faculties such as computing and engineering or explore other elements of education-based performance. Practical implications - The research method and study outcomes can support HE managers to allocate resources more effectively and develop strategies to improve quality and increase student satisfaction. Originality/value - Distinct from other IPA based-studies, analysis is undertaken at three levels; the individual participant, for individual items and at the factor level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-800
JournalJournal of Management Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2017


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