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ERIC Number: ED567988
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 156
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3395-2762-8
The Role of Relationship Marketing and SOAR in University Recruiting and Retention
Lange, Tyana
ProQuest LLC, D.B.A. Dissertation, Lawrence Technological University
Institutions of higher education (IHEs) are competing to recruit students in a crowded market with the number of colleges on the increase and the number of high school seniors declining. IHEs are looking for effective ways to recruit students and increase retention and graduation rates. Relationship marketing (RM) is an approach from business that colleges are adopting to recruit students. This cross-sectional mixed-methods survey design with moderating and mediating variables explored the meaning of RM as applied to the student recruitment process in N = 174 undergraduate students from Lock Haven University (LHU). The elements that support the theoretical makeup of RM as supported in the literature were examined--student satisfaction, affective commitment, calculative commitment, and trust--as well as the impact of RM on student loyalty and the impact of student loyalty on retention. To help provide an understanding of the mechanism of action by which RM has a positive impact on student loyalty, the SOAR framework for strategic thinking, planning, and leading was examined as a mediating variable. Additionally, the relationship between RM and loyalty was tested for its moderation by gender, age, ethnicity, high school GPA, SAT scores, or high school class rank. The results of the research indicated that RM and the RM components satisfaction and affective commitment had a positive impact on student loyalty. The results suggest that marketing the university by emphasizing student satisfaction and connecting with a student emotionally to increase affective commitment, will positively predict student loyalty. SOAR and its strengths elements were found to partially mediate the relationship between RM and student loyalty. Thus, SOAR may be considered as an explanatory variable for how RM impacted student loyalty. The demographic characteristics of the students were determined to have no impact on the data, suggesting that a marketing approach using RM may be appropriate for all potential new students. Three recommendations for practitioners are suggested from this study. The first recommendation is to train admissions staff to connect with students on an emotional level--resulting in a culture of emotional connection. Second, staff should be trained on the "five C's": communication, caring, commitment, comfort and conflict resolution. Finally, a culture of RM should be created campus-wide through the utilization of a SOAR-based approach that stresses dialogue, shared communication, and inclusion of all stakeholders involved in the recruiting process, including admissions staff and students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: SAT (College Admission Test)