Panels and Special Sessions
Serving and satisfying customers is often viewed as the primary function of businesses. Consequently, a customer orientation, or a focus on determining customers’ wants and needs and designing and offering products to satisfy them, is a key concept within marketing. Is the importance of a customer orientation also true in higher education? Several believe that it is. The answer to the question of who is the customer in higher education, however, is less clear. Historically, society was viewed to be the primary customer of higher education – the purpose of higher education was viewed to produce educated individuals who possess the knowledge and skills to serve society by serving as leaders in society and its primary institutions, including government and business. Arguably, this view of the purpose of higher educations has changed. Today, students are most often viewed as the customers of higher education. Indeed, when viewing the activities of colleges and universities, the extent to which a consumer mentality has been accepted and employed quickly becomes obvious. The promise of consumer (student) satisfaction is viewed to be key to attracting students and is an essential component of most university marketing programs. Not all agree with this assessment of the role of a consumer mentality in higher education, however. Several believe that a consumer mentality is antithetical to higher education, which logically raises an important question: Why would a customer mentality be appropriate for most organizations, but not higher education? The focus of this special session is to explore this issue.
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
Digital Commons@Georgia Southern License
Batory, Stephen S.; Batory, Anne Heineman; Burns, David J.; Lanasa, John; and Stuart, Randy, "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: The Role of a Consumer Mentality in Higher Education and Exploring How it Can be Overcome" (2013). Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Proceedings 2013. 15.