Correlation Between Faculty Satisfaction and Student Satisfaction in Higher Education

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The Ohio State University

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In an effort to stay competitive in the increasingly more challenging business world, companies are constantly trying to develop new ways in which to improve their organizations. One way to accomplish this is by improving overall employee satisfaction, which has been found to be correlated with increased customer satisfaction, and increased profits. Thus, by gaining a greater understanding of their employees’ perceived level of satisfaction, and by working toward enhancing it, organizations should be able to better serve their customers. While the evidence on higher employee satisfaction being correlated with greater customer satisfaction is presented in the literature, it is mostly anecdotal. Further, research has not looked into various facets of employee satisfaction and how they relate to various facets of customer satisfaction. Finally, while employee satisfaction issues have been discussed in various organizational settings, I have not been able to locate research on faculty satisfaction and its relationship to various aspects of student satisfaction in a university setting. My research seeks to examine the correlations between several aspects of faculty satisfaction and student satisfaction within a university setting. In this environment, faculty members are employees of the organization and students may be viewed as its customers. Each group derives satisfaction from different aspects of what occurs at the university, yet the satisfaction experienced by one group is expected to affect their performance, and thus the satisfaction experienced by the other group. For example, a faculty member who is happy with his or her colleagues may be motivated to do more team-teaching and enhance the learning experience (and thus satisfaction) of students. This project requires data to be gathered from two groups – faculty and students. Data on faculty satisfaction with various aspects of their job are available by department through an organization that conducts such surveys at various universities every three years. To understand student satisfaction, a survey of current undergraduate students will also be undertaken. The survey will examine student satisfaction with various aspects of their academic experience at the university. Based on the data obtained from the two surveys, we plan to compute correlations between facets of faculty satisfaction that are hypothesized to have the greatest impact on student satisfaction. I believe that this research will not only help The Ohio State University and its various departments, but also any other university that is interested in enhancing the satisfaction levels of its various constituents. University administrators can use this information to understand which aspects of their work experience faculty members of a certain department are more satisfied with and whether this has an effect on student satisfaction. This research model may be applied for further study by analyzing universities that are different than the large, urban, public university that has been surveyed in this study. The concept of correlating facets of employee satisfaction to customer satisfaction could also be applied to any organizational setting. This additional research will advance the understanding of employee and customer satisfaction and the correlations discovered through this study.



satisfaction, higher education