Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to ascertain students’ perceptions on quality of services provided by private universities in Thailand and Japan and how these affected decisions selecting a university. A comparative study aims to focus on how cultural and economic factors affected their decisions. Design/methodology/approach: Research design sought students’ perceptions through empirical surveys on the type of factors which influenced their decisions in selecting a university. As the students needed to form their views on personal experience on services categorized into ten factors, the research sample included students with one-four years of campus experience. The research instrument was a well validated questionnaire developed on a review of literature and a pilot study. For the main study, 1,900 Thai students from nine private universities and 703 Japanese students from two private colleges were invited to participate. Findings: Findings suggest that in selecting a university campus the university’s reputation, academic staff, quality of the programs and job-placement were the most important factors that influenced student decisions. The comparative analyses reveal many similarities and some differences between the two groups while Thai students had a higher degree of satisfaction than Japanese counterparts which may perhaps be attributed to economic disparities. Implications: Findings may not be generally applicable as the sample was limited and cultural contexts were somewhat similar. Yet, there were generic factors applicable to most universities. Originality/value: These findings are valuable to university administrators and academics to improve the quality of services which are most important in influencing student perceptions in selecting a university.
Quality Assurance in Education Vol. 16, Issue 2, p. 181-198