Assessing the applicability of student-based brand equity constructs in university institution preference in Ghana

Effah, Ebenezer Asare (2017) Assessing the applicability of student-based brand equity constructs in university institution preference in Ghana. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


With ad-hoc application of the traditional element of marketing failing to sustainably cushion institutions against growing competition, universities are frantically searching for ways to differentiate themselves in the long term. This study ascertains the applicability of five empirically established brand equity constructs to Ghana’s university industry. It is underpinned by a pragmatist philosophy - an objective-driven blend between the ontological and epistemological philosophical positions, and adopts a mixed-methods paradigm that combines qualitative and quantitative survey methods of data collection and analysis.

For the qualitative part, 22 valid face-to-face in-depth interviews with undergraduate students selected from four universities were used while the quantitative study used 625 self-administered questionnaires from undergraduate students from twelve universities. Thematic analysis was used for the qualitative data while for the quantitative data, the structural equation modelling technique of partial least squares (PLS) was employed to ascertain relationships between the five independent student-based brand equity (SBBE) constructs on one hand, and students’ university brand preference (SUBP) as a dependent variable, on the other.

Results of the analysis indicate a positive relationship between most of the SBBE constructs studied and university preference in Ghana. Four SBBE dimensions namely; university institutional reputation (UIR), university institutional image (UII), university graduate employability (UGE) and perceived institutional service quality (PISQ) recorded significant positive relationships with students’ university preference (SUP). Positive relationships were also obtained between university image and university reputation, university identity and university reputation, as well as between perceived institutional service quality and graduate employability. On the contrary, an insignificant relationship was obtained between university institutional identity (UI) and students’ university preference. The correlation analysis also indicates significant positive relationships among all the independent SBBE variables. Cumulatively, the results indicate that the SBBE concept is applicable to Ghana’s university context as the SBBE constructs and university preference are positively related. The prevalence of reputation, image, graduate employability and perceived institutional service quality in the research findings has implications for policy in the university sector. Also worthy of note is the significant positive relationship obtained between perceived institutional service quality and graduate employability; as well as between university institution identity, university institution image and university institution reputation.

Much of the existing academic work on higher education branding has concentrated on brand equity’s antecedents and consequences. This study links empirically proven antecedents of university brand equity to university preference. Also, most of existing empirical research on brand equity in the university sector has focused on developed countries whose circumstances are fundamentally different from those of developing economies. This study is a novelty in the sub-Saharan African context where student-focused university branding is uncommon; and so comes as a significant contribution from Ghana, to the growing worldwide debate on university branding. While contributing a survey instrument that enhances SBBE research methodology, theoretically, the unique blend of SBBE constructs employed is unprecedented. Notwithstanding some limitations identified, this study presents an empirical model that stands to guide university management in judiciously dispensing scarce resources.

EffahEbenezer - Complete thesis.pdf - Published Version

Download (2MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

View Item View Item