As stated in the previous chapter, this study aims to uncover and validate determinant variables of loyalty in an university-stakeholder setting. As a knowledge institute, Fontys has the unique position to offer services that are beneficial to their own customers (students), but may simultaneously also be beneficial to others. In return, those who benefit from these services might create a positive attitude towards the Fontys which in time may lead to loyalty. Loyalty (2.2), in this study, will be comprised out of two elements knowingly: attitudinal loyalty and behavioural loyalty. The higher the attitudinal loyalty the more likely it will be that the stakeholder will speak positively about Fontys or will recommend working with the Fontys to colleagues or friends. The higher the behavioural loyalty, the more likely it is that individuals or organisations are willing to participate more often in the future, or may even consider enrolling in a study programme at Fontys. Even though there is an extensive amount of research on loyalty available, at this point, it is unknown what determinant factors for loyalty are in the particular context of this study. Therefore, an extensive literature study has been conducted by the author in order to uncover potential variables that could have a significant impact on loyalty. Simultaneously, the relationship between Fontys and its stakeholders has been analysed. During this process, critical interaction points have been identified which have formed the boundaries of this study. More information about this analysis can be found in appendix 2. As a result, the scientific part of this study will be comprised out of four different constructs. In order to ensure the managerial relevance, additional statements have been included in this research and will be discussed in appendix C: the management report.
2.1.1. Scientific relevance
When we take a closer look at the relationship between Fontys and its stakeholders the most prominent representatives of the Fontys are its students and their coaches. Therefore, there is believed that the rating a stakeholder will give to the experience they have had with students and coaches is an important antecedent of loyalty. In this study, this rating will be captured under the variable satisfaction (2.3). Furthermore, the perceived quality of the delivered service is deemed to be an important antecedent of loyalty as well. Because the service that Fontys provides is so diverse , quality can manifest itself in many different aspects. In order to cover all of these aspects, the service quality will be measured based on the five dimensions (reliability, empathy, assurance, responsiveness and tangibles) of the SERVPERF model (2.4). Besides satisfaction and perceived service quality, reputation (2.5) will also be taken into account. It is believed that the reputation of an organisation could play a role in the formation of attitudes and therefore influence loyal behaviour. Reputation could be seen as an extrinsic form of motivation; whereas, commitment (2.6) focusses on intrinsic motivation such economic benefits, perceived forms of obligations and affective aspects that could motivate. As can be seen in table 2.1, each of the four constructs of this research study represents a specific situation or encounter which could lead to the increase of loyalty.
Theoretical Graduation Thesis
2.1.2. Managerial relevance
In order to ensure the managerial relevance, stakeholders have also been asked to indicate the extent to which they would find interesting to work more often with Fontys. Also, explorative qualitative research pointed out that stakeholders also have needs in which Fontys possibly could provide. Since the aim of this research is to create input for a loyalty programme which can be used among stakeholders, this study will also pay attention to the mediating effects of distance and the number of times that a stakeholder has come into contact with Fontys. More information about the managerial part of this study can be found in appendix C.
The variables loyalty, satisfaction, service quality, reputation and commitment will be discussed thoroughly in the following paragraphs of this report. Figure 2.1 illustrates the conceptual model of this study and the relationships that are proposed.
Figure 2.1. Conceptual Model
In the past, much research studies have been performed on the topic loyalty. Due through globalisation and the intensifying of competition organisation are evolving defensive strategies to maintain their current position. Loyalty is considered to be one of the key variables when it comes to developing these defensive strategies. Retaining current customers cost considerably less effort than the acquisition of new ones. In line with paying more attention to relationships, Tuominen (1995) suggested that an organisation needs to develop efficient long-term relationships with stakeholders. Tuominen also suggested that organisations need to attempt to move stakeholders up the “ladder of stakeholder loyalty” (Tuominen, 1995) whereby existing relationships with stakeholders gets strengthened.
Theoretical Graduation Thesis
2.2.1. Definition of loyalty
Over the years, there have been many definitions of loyalty. Loyalty could be defined as “a deeply held commitment to either re-buy or re-patronize a preferred product or service consistently in the future” (Oliver, 1999) , and by doing so causes repetitive brand purchasing, despite situational influences or marketing efforts of potential competitors. According to Beck (2015) loyalty is a customer’s sense of belonging or identification with the product, services or employees of an organisation. These feelings have got a direct impact on the behaviour of that customer. Basu and Dick (1994) argue that loyalty is multi-dimensional. Loyalty does not only indicate whether a customer will make repeat purchases, but also serves as a measure of customer support. Keller (2002) describes loyalty as the fourth and final stage in the Consumer Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model. During this stage, the focus lies around the question whether the consumer is willing to commit to a sustainable relationship. When the consumer is willing to do so, one might speak of real brand-loyalty. The consumer identifies himself greatly with the values of the brand and is willing to invest in a relationship. This can manifest itself in repeat-purchases, a reduction of the susceptibility of information of competitors and the willingness to pay a premium price. Capitulatory, loyalty is a customer’s sense of identification with an organisation or institution. This sense affects repurchase intentions, spending amounts, the possibility to recommend and even the willingness to become a part of a business.
2.2.2. Classification of Loyalty
The construct loyalty can be divided into two distinct dimensions: active and passive loyalty (Ganesh, 2000). Active loyal behaviour requires a conscious and deliberate effort to undertake and are reflected in both purchase behaviour as purchase intentions. Passive loyalty can be identified when purchase behaviour or intentions are affected by changes in the price or switching costs. Kumar and Shah (2006) described two alternative dimensions of loyalty: behavioural and attitudinal loyalty. Behavioural loyalty is associated with the unconscious part of the mind, which encourages behaviour to be consistent in the future (Maroofi, 2012). Wood et al. (2005) found out that the repeated use of a service or product could result in the establishment of deep-founded habitual behaviour, which in time leads to a reduction of effort since the product or service becomes a part of the daily routine. Past research has proven that habits have a significant impact on economic switching barriers (Woisetschläger, 2011; Jones, 2002). The higher the habitual behaviour, the higher the perceived effort deemed necessary to change that particular behaviour.
Attitudinal loyalty refers to the conscious part of the mind. Unlike behavioural loyalty, attitudinal loyalty is rational and planned. In economic terms, a customer who scores high on attitudinal loyalty towards brand A is also willing to be a premium price for it even if brand B would offer the exact same product. This type of loyalty comes forth out of a rational process of the mind. In this study loyalty will be comprised out of attitudinal loyalty (psychological) and behavioural loyalty (substantial element). This study aims to distinguish attitudinal loyalty from behavioural loyalty to examine their differences in relationship with the independent constructs of this study.
Theoretical Graduation Thesis
1. Behavioural loyalty metrics
Behavioural loyalty refers to customers who are loyal out of habit. Sometimes switching from one brand to another can cause unforeseen problems. Therefore, stakeholders which score high on behavioural loyalty are more likely to re-purchase or re-patronize the same buying behaviour.In this study, behavioural loyalty will be measured by the following statements:
The extent to which a stakeholder intents to re-patronize or re-choose previous or additional services provided by Fontys.
The extent to which a stakeholder prefers working with Fontys above other knowledge institutes (Fontys is first choice).
2. Attitudinal loyalty metrics
Davies (1998), defined attitudinal loyalty as the extent to which someone speaks positively towards its peers about a certain brand or organisation. This phenomenon is called Word-of-Mouth (WOM). Research has pointed out that individuals are more inclined to trust WOM in comparison with formal forms of promotion. It is therefore that the extent to which one speaks positively about a brand or organisation is a strong indicator of attitudinal loyalty (Rajdeep, 2003; Davies, 1998). Parasuraman (1991) stated that recommendations also are an important antecedent of attitudinal loyalty. For these reasons attitudinal loyalty will be measured by the following statements:
The extent to which a stakeholder intents to speak positively about Fontys.
The likelihood that stakeholders would recommend the services of Fontys to a friend or colleague.
By operationalizing loyalty in two different dimensions and combining this with the literature of other academic studies, the results are deemed to be more reliable and valid. However, a respondent could score high on one dimension and low on the other one. When this is the case it could be useful to know what the effects of this are on the overall loyalty of that respondent. In order to tackle this, the results from both the attitudinal metrics and behavioural metrics will be combined and plotted in the loyalty –matrix from Walker (2013).
2.2.3. Loyalty Matrix*
Since the Fontys has never conducted any research among stakeholders, the results of this study will be plotted in the loyalty-matrix. By doing so, more insights will be gained for the management of Fontys about the current loyalty situation among stakeholders. More information about the loyalty matrix can be found in appendix C: the management report.
Anderson et al. (1994) suggests that that customer satisfaction is both an emotional evaluation and a comparison between “pre-consumption expectation” and the “post-consumption perceived performance”. Due to competition, customer satisfaction has become one of the key elements in the development of business strategies. According to Anderson et al. (1994), customer satisfaction can be divided into two different perspectives. On one side, there is the transaction-specific perspective which proposes that satisfaction is an evaluation of recent purchase experience. On the other side, there is the cumulative perspective which suggests that satisfaction is an evaluation of all past purchase intentions, regardless of the circumstances. When the service performance of an organisation is evaluated, the cumulative perspective is considered to be more effective in predicting customers’ intentions (Khan, 2012). Satisfaction is a concept that can be interpreted in numerous ways. According to Lin (2004) and Homburg (2006) one can be satisfied about the functioning
Theoretical Graduation Thesis
(cognitive evaluation) of a service or product, or can be satisfied about emotional (affective evaluation) aspects of a product or service. Cognitive evaluation has been studied mainly in terms of the disconfirmation paradigm, which predicts satisfaction to be a function of a comparison between expectations and performance. Affective evaluation states that affect ( happiness, contempt, joy etc.) experienced during the acquisition or consumption of a product or service also has a significant effect on satisfaction.
Satisfaction is one of the most dominant independent variables in research studies on loyalty. In this study, the stakeholders satisfaction of the consumed service will be measured on cognitive aspects as well as on affective aspects. If the cognitive satisfaction is high, the likelihood that stakeholders will re-patronize their actions is great (behavioural loyalty). If the affective satisfaction is high, this could result in positive word of mouth or recommendations (affective loyalty). In other words, stakeholders satisfaction is deemed to have a positive effect on stakeholders loyalty.
2.3.1. Cognitive Satisfaction
Cognition refers to judgement or evaluation. Judgments are often specific to the intended use application and use the occasion for which the product is purchased, regardless if that use is correct or incorrect. According to Homberg (2006) cognitive satisfaction can be seen as the extent to which a consumer believes that the service was useful and met their expectations. Therefore, cognitive satisfaction will be measured by two positively formulated statements. These statements have been derived from existing literature (Homburg, 2006) and have been made specific based on the results of the explorative qualitative research (appendix B).
The extent to which stakeholders believe that the results of the service met their expectations.
The extent to which stakeholder believe that the results of the service were useful to them, and their organisation
2.3.2. Affective Satisfaction
Affect, or emotion, can according to Homburg (2006) best be measured in the context of attitudes. The attitudes consumers can have towards a product or service is the result of any experience that the consumer has with the product or service, regardless of this experience was perceived or real. In this study, affective satisfaction will be measured by two positively formulated statements. These statements have been derived from existing literature (Homburg, 2006) and have been made specific based on the results of the explorative qualitative research (appendix B.
The extent to which a stakeholder enjoyed the experience of working with student(s).
The extent to which stakeholders are satisfied with the functioning of the student(s) within their organisation.
2.3.3. Hypothesis 1
The relationship between satisfaction and loyalty has been verified by a lot of independent research in the last decade (Khan, 2012; Bowen, 2001; Sharma, 2001). It is therefore that there is hypothesized that this relationship also is applicable to the relationship between stakeholders’ satisfaction and their loyalty towards the Fontys.
Hypothesis 1: Satisfaction significantly influences loyalty.
Hypothesis 1A: Cognitive satisfaction significantly influences loyalty.
Hypothesis 1B: Affective satisfaction significantly influences loyalty.
Theoretical Graduation Thesis
2.4. Perceived Service Quality
Service quality can be seen as the customer’s evaluation of the overall superiority of a service encounter; it is a perceived, not objective, quality. Defining perceived service quality might be a bit of a challenge, compared to product quality because service possesses some unique features such as intangibility and imperishability. One of the first researchers to develop a model to measure service quality was Parasurama. Parasurama (1991) proposed that service quality can be defined as the difference between the expected and the perceived service quality (PSQ). Based on this proposition he developed the five-dimensional SERVQUAL model, consisting of tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. One of the main criticisms of the SERVQUAL model is that it is not generalizable to all types of services. Even though it is true that the five dimensions of the SERVQUAL model are important antecedents of PSQ, the question remains how the dimensions should be formalised. F.e. reliability is an important factor, but which aspects of the service provider need to be reliable is unknown. Furthermore, because the SERVQUAL model measures the difference between the expected and perceived quality, it might be possible that during the measurement expectations and perceived quality are intertwined. Also, when an individual already has had a previous experience with the service provider the expectations will probably deviate. Lastly, when an individual has very bad expectations of the quality and later on perceived the service as bad the difference between both measurements will be positive since the perceived service quality exceeded the expected service quality. This could result in misleading results.
To partially encounter the criticisms Cronin and Taylor (1995) developed a variant of the SERVQUAL model: the SERVPERF model. In the SERVPERF model there only is one measurement moment. The model only focuses itself on the perception of the delivered performance. Cronin and Taylor most important argument for this model is that individuals do not explicitly make an assessment between expectations and perceptions. Expectations are therefore not accounted for in the SERVPERF model. Furthermore, because there is only one measurement moment it is not possible for separate constructs to be intertwined. For these reasons the perceived service quality will be measured based on the SERVPERF model in this study.
In the past, many researchers have claimed that service quality is an important antecedent of loyalty. Anderson and Sullivan (1993) indicated that service quality affects loyalty, emphasizing that customer loyalty is an integrated appraisal of the post-purchase experience. At this moment, it is unknown which dimensions have got a significant effect on loyalty in a stakeholder-university setting. The perceived service quality will be measured based on multiple statements which will be derived from the original study from Cronin et al. (1992) and a more recent study of Vera et al. (2013 ) in which both of them developed a questionnaire to measure the dimensions of PSQ. These original questionnaires can be found in appendix 3. Even though the SERVPERF model counters some of the arguments against the SERVQUAL model, the question still remains how the dimensions should be formalized. In order to tackle this, explorative qualitative research has been carried out among stakeholders to identify critical indicators for each of the five dimensions. The results of the qualitative research can be found in appendix B: the research report.
Theoretical Graduation Thesis
2.4.1. Reliability metrics
In comparison to the other four dimensions, reliability is a service outcome. What is important in this dimension is that the organisation is able to deliver the promised service reliable and accurately. In this study, the reliability dimension will be measured by the following statements:
The extent to which stakeholders believe that employees of Fontys are professional and instil confidence.
The extent to which stakeholders believe that Fontys has communicated clearly in advance what was expected of them and their organisation.
2.4.2. Empathy metrics
The empathy dimension is a dimension in which the individual and specific attention that has been given to the assignment stands central. In this study, the responsiveness dimension will be measured by the following statements:
The extent to which stakeholders believe that Fontys has got their best interest at heart.
The extent to which stakeholders believe that Fontys has provided them with services that comply with the specific needs of stakeholders and their organisation.
2.4.3. Assurance metrics
The assurance dimension stands for the level of trust an individual has in the service provider. Also, the level of dignity and respect that they receive are indicators of this dimension. In this study, the assurance dimension will be measured by the following statements:
The extent to which stakeholder believe that Fontys can be trusted with sensitive business information.
The extent to which stakeholders believe that Fontys has treated them with respect and dignity.
2.4.4. Responsiveness metrics
The responsiveness dimension consists out of the benevolence and willingness of employees of an organisation to offer prompt services to provide in the wishes and needs of a client. Also, the communication process between the organisation and the client is an indicator for this dimension. In this study, the responsiveness dimension will be measured by the following statements.
The extent to which stakeholders believe that Fontys has communicated all relevant information on time.
The extent to which stakeholders believe that the communication with Fontys is easy, fast and clearly.
2.4.5. Tangibles metrics
In contrast to the above-mentioned dimensions, this dimension is about actual tangible aspects within the process. Explorative qualitative research pointed out that the spending time and the reports that are handed over tot he clients at the end of the service are strong indicators fort his dimension. Therefore, the tangible dimension will be measured by the following statements:
The extent to which stakeholders believe that the spending time on a particular service is appropriate.
The extent to which stakeholders make use of the research reports and research plan that they have received at the end of the service.
Theoretical Graduation Thesis
2.4.6. Hypothesis 2
In this study, a direct relationship between perceived service quality and loyalty is proposed. This relationship has been proven multiple times by independent research. It is therefore that the author hypothesises that this relationship is also applicable on the loyalty of stakeholders.
Hypothesis 2: Perceived service quality significantly influences loyalty
Hypothesis 2A: The reliability dimension significantly influences loyalty
Hypothesis 2B: The empathy dimension significantly influences loyalty
Hypothesis 2C: The assurance dimension significantly influences loyalty
Hypothesis 2D: The responsiveness dimension significantly influences loyalty
Hypothesis 2E: The tangible dimension significantly influences loyalty
2.5. Corporate Image & Reputation
Corporate image and reputation are two concepts that often get intertwined. Corporate reputation has mostly been conceptualized in scientific literature as a “perceptual representation or assessment of an organisation by its different recipients” (Alves, 2014). Reputation could, therefore, be perceived differently by different recipients based on their experience. Corporate image has mostly been conceptualized in scientific literature as “the perception of an organization, which results from one’s experience with, or impressions of the company and ultimately contributes towards a total picture of the organization’’ (Mostafa, 2015). It relates to various physical and behavioural attributes such as the quality of products/services, business name, architecture, traditions and the quality of communication. In his report: “A systematic review of the corporate reputation literature” (2010), Walker summarized the differences between corporate image and reputation (fig 2.3). According to Walker, corporate reputation is build on external and internal stakeholders’ actual perceptions. These perceptions can positive as well as negative. Organizational image is built inside external stakeholders’ minds. It reflects stakeholders temporal impression of the organization shaped by direct or indirect experience. Basically, organisation image can be seen as the perceived organizational image at a given point in time; whereas, corporate reputation is built over time, which gives the concept a relatively more stable and lasting nature than image.
Figure 2.3: Differences between organization identity, image and corporate reputation. Source: (Walker K. A., 2010)
2.5.1. Corporate Image
Corporate image consists out of two primary components: a functional component and an emotional component (Nguyen N. &., 2001; Mostafa, 2015). The functional component relates to tangible characteristics; whereas, the emotional component relates to intangible characteristics such as
Theoretical Graduation Thesis
feelings and attitudes. Building image is a long and lengthy process which can improve fast through unexpected achievements and positive media attention but can also be destroyed as fast by neglecting the needs and expectations of consumers. As said, corporate image is a construct which is built through various perceptions about attributes in the mind of the consumer. These perceptions are not solely based on the image of one particular organisation, but are an accumulation of perceived images of various organisations. Although there have been multiple definitions of corporate image, researchers seem to agree that corporate image is the result of a process, which arises from ideas, feelings and past experiences.
In the absence of a reliable and valid scale that can be used to measure the corporate image of a knowledge institution in the minds of their stakeholders (appendix B), corporate image will be operationalized based on two direct measures. These measures have been proven to be valid and reliable by multiple studies in cases where valid scales were not available (Cheng T. &., 2008; Nguyen N. , 2010; 2001). For this reason, corporate image will in this study be measured by the following statements, the original questionnaires can be found in appendix 3.
The extent to which stakeholders have got a good overall impression of Fontys.
The extent to which stakeholders feel that Fontys has a better image as other knowledge institutions.
2.5.2. Corporate Reputation
Corporate reputation has mostly been researched as a social identity which is deemed to be a very important resource for the performance, and maybe even the survival, of an organisation. Corporate reputation is often associated with the credibility of an organisation (Perez, 2013; Nguyen N. &., 2001). Credibility is built by the comparison of what an organisation says it will do and what it actually does. Credibility, and thus reputation, could be viewed as a mirror of the history of an organisation which communicated information to stakeholders regarding the current quality of products or services in comparison to their competitors. According to Watick (1992), corporate reputation is an ‘aggregation of a single stakeholder’s perception of how well organizational responses are meeting the demands and expectations of many organizational stakeholders’. This definition also includes the perception of the ability to meet expectations of groups other than themselves. Therefore, reputation can exist out of separate reputations for each combination of attributes and stakeholders.
Since defining the corporate reputation of Fontys for each of the possible combinations is a whole study of its own and no specific factors have been uncovered during the explorative qualitative research (appendix B), reputation will, just as image, be operationalized by direct measures. Both of the measures have been derived from studies who have proven to be valid metrics in the absence of valid scales (Cheng S. , 2011; Nguyen N. , 2010; 2001). Therefore, reputation will be measured by the following statements, the original questionnaires can be found in appendix 3.
The extent to which stakeholders believe that Fontys has got a good reputation in the work field.
The extent to which stakeholders believe that Fontys keeps its promises.
2.5.3. Hypothesis 3
The relationship between reputation, image and loyalty has been confirmed numerous times in the past decade (Nguyen N. &., 2001; Walker K. A., 2010; Cheng T. &., 2008). Therefore, it is expected that reputation and image also significantly influences loyalty in the context of this study since both
Theoretical Graduation Thesis
variables represent an extrinsic form of motivation that could move stakeholders towards stronger loyal behaviour is the future.
Hypothesis 3: Reputation and Image significantly influence loyalty
Hypothesis 3A: Corporate image significantly influences loyalty
Hypothesis 3B: Corporate reputation significantly influences loyalty
Former researchers defined commitment as “an enduring desire to maintain a valued relationship” (Moorman, 1992). It can be viewed as a force that binds customers to continue purchasing services, or products, from a particular seller, and is experienced by an individual as “a frame of mind or psychological state that compels an individual toward a course of action” (Meyer, 2002). Commitment can be conceptualized in numerous ways. According to Dwyer et al. (1987) commitment can be conceptualised in terms of size and consistency of inputs, as well as the durability of the relationship. Commitment could also be conceptualised according to the Three Component Model (TCM) (Allen, 1990; Solinger, 2008; Čater, 2010). The three dimensions of the TCM are affective commitment, calculative commitment and normative commitment. Since it is currently unknown what moves stakeholders towards a commitment, commitment will, in this study, be conceptualized according to the TCM of Solinger (2008). All statements that will be described in paragraph 2.6.1 up to and including paragraph 2.6.3 have been derived the work of Čater (2010), Sharma (2006) and Allen (1990) and have been made specific based on the outcomes of the explorative qualitative research. The original questionnaire can be found in appendix 3; whereas, the results of the explorative qualitative research can be found in appendix B: the research report
As stated in paragraph 2.1 this study aims to make a distinction between the academic and the managerial relevance. Therefore, this section will conclude with a section on the managerial aspects of commitment.
2.6.1 Affective commitment
Affective commitment includes “a desire to develop and strengthen a relationship with another person or group because of familiarity, friendship, and personal confidence built through interpersonal interaction over time” (Sharma, 2006). Gilliland and Bello (2002) defined affective commitment as an “emotional, social sentiment” which comes forth out of attachment that is due to identification and liking. In this study, affective commitment will be measured based on the following two statements.
• The extent to which stakeholders feel a certain affinity with Fontys.
• The extent to which stakeholders feel more attracted to Fontys as to other knowledge institutions.
2.6.2. Calculative commitment
Calculative commitment reflects a ‘need’ or ‘economic’ component which basically means that calculative commitment arises from the perceived losses versus the perceived benefits (Sharma, 2006; Čater, 2010). Calculative commitment can therefore either be positive or negative. Negative commitment arises from a lack of alternative or high switching costs; whereas, positive commitment involves rational calculations which arising from the benefits of continuing the relationship. In this study, calculative commitment will be measured based on the following statements.
Theoretical Graduation Thesis
• The extent to which stakeholders believe that continuing the relationship with Fontys is beneficial to them (positive calculative commitment).
• The extent to which stakeholders believe that there are alternatives available (negative calculative commitment).
2.6.3. Normative commitment
Normative commitment can be described as an attachment due to perceived obligations. Normative committed people stay in a certain relationship because they feel they ought to. The reason to continue the relationship comes forth out of moral perceptions (Čater, 2010; Sharma, 2006). In this study, normative commitment will be measured based on the following statement.
• The extent to which stakeholders feel it as an ethical responsibility to be involved in the development of knowledge in their region.
2.6.4. Hypothesis 3
In this study, a direct relationship is proposed between the commitment of stakeholders and their loyalty towards the Fontys. This relationship has been verified numerous of times (Ganesan, 1997; Čater, 2010; Sharma, 2006) and it is therefore believed that this relationship is also applicable in the context of this study.
Hypothesis 4: Commitment significantly influences loyalty.
Hypothesis 4A: Affective commitment significantly influences loyalty.
Hypothesis 4B: Positive calculative commitment significantly influences loyalty.
Hypothesis 4C: Negative calculative commitment significantly influences loyalty.
Hypothesis 4D: Normative commitment significantly influences loyalty.
2.6.4. Managerial aspects of commitment*.
As stated in paragraph 2.1 of this chapter, this study makes a sub-division in the academic relevance and managerial relevance. As indicated earlier, Fontys possesses the facilities and capabilities to offer additional services tot heir stakeholders. In return, stakeholders could be persuaded to work with Fontys more often. However, before doing so, it is important to know what could motivate stakeholders to act this way. Therefore, some extra statements have been included in this research to obtain insights into how such an arrangement could be formed. More information about this can be found in appendix C: the management report.
This construct can be seen as an addition to the previously mentioned constructs. The construct has been added to the literature to ensure the managerial relevance of this research study. At first, the idea was to include the fulfillment of needs in the academic part of this study; however, at the end it turned out that the inclusion of needs into the academic model did not lead to any significant results and decreased the internal consistency of the model (CA1 with needs: 0.850, CA without needs: 0.851). It is for this reason that the needs will be left out of the academic part of this study and will be discussed in the managerial part of this study which can be found in appendix C: the management report.
A synthesis of all literature can be found in appendix 5.
1 CA= Cronbach’s Alpha
Theoretical Graduation Thesis
Chapter 3: Research methodology
In this chapter the research paradigm, and design will be outlined. Furthermore, the population and sample will be discussed. At last, more information about the data analysis and the validity, reliability and generalizability will be given.
3.1. Research Paradigm
This research will be conducted from both an interpretivist and positivist paradigm of inquiry. At the commence of this study, not enough information was available to state with certainty that the proposed conceptual model and propositions are valid. Therefore, by using a deductive approach, more insight in the four constructs has been gathered by using explorative qualitative research. Based on the results of this research the literature has been modified to fit the situation. Once the propositions either have been verified or adjusted, they have been translated into hypotheses. Once the hypotheses have been determined they will be tested by using an inductive approach. Since the author of the research study at the moment is a student at Fontys. The chances for bias to occur increase. Therefore, all statements have been kept as close as possible to the statements of the research study from which they have been derived. Eventually, quantitative research has been carried out to gather all necessary information needed to statistically verify the hypothesis.
Since this study uses both a deductive and inductive approach as well as qualitative and quantitative research the research paradigms of inquiry of this study will be the interpretivist paradigm and the positivist paradigm. The interpretivist paradigm usually is characterized by a deductive, qualitative approach and seeks to verify certain concepts, experiences, perceptions and relationships in order to verify propositions. The positivist paradigm usually is characterized by an inductive, quantitative approach and seeks to make generalizable assumptions that are applicable to an entire population, in order to verify hypothesis (Cibangu, 2010).
3.2. Research design
This research focuses itself around one particular case, which is the relationship between the ‘Marketing en Management’ department of Fontys and its stakeholders. The design of this research consists out of two steps. First, the propositions have been verified by qualitative research. The research tool that has been used in this case are in-depth interviews. At first, confirmation of the conceptual has been sought by interviewing experts in the area of loyalty. Once these experts had verified the likeability that the propositions are valid, interviews have been held among the stakeholders of Fontys. Once these stakeholders also indicate that they believed that the propositions are valid, the propositions have been translated into hypothesises. The hypothesises will be verified by using quantitative research. The research tool that will be used is a questionnaire that will be distributed among the research population. Afterwards, several statistical analysis will be used to indicate to what extent the constructs influence the loyalty of stakeholders in this case study.
...(download the rest of the essay above)