Specifičnosti primene marketing koncepta u visokoškolskim ustanovama
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One of the main goals of contemporary higher education institutions refers to achieving and developing sustainable competitive advantage. That fact is among the main causes for affirmation of marketing concept application in higher education sector. Namely, in the higher education market, more and more various institutions are offering their services to the same target group – prospective students. Competition on this market is stronger and more numerous than ever, and that makes more explicit application of marketing – a necessity. In order to survive and develop on the market, higher education institutions have to attract, enrol and retain sufficient number of students. That is possible only if these institutions succeed to establish and continuously enhance their competitive advantage. In profit sector context, marketing concept is used for achieving mentioned aims, as this business orientation has positive influence on organisation’s performances. Marketing concept refers to system...atic gathering and dissemination of market intelligence, and decision-making based on this information, with final aim – to provide superior value and to cater the needs of clients better than the competition does. Although application of marketing concept in higher education sector has originally faced some objections, numerous researches have proven that not only is it possible in this sector, but marketing activities are commonly used in higher education institutions. On the other hand, studies about marketing concept and its effects are relatively scarce in higher education context. Therefore, the main aim of the research presented in this Doctoral Dissertation is to determine whether marketing concept application contributes to success of higher education institutions (HEIs). In that respect, the main scientific contribution of this dissertation refers to filling in the identified gaps in theoretical and empirical researches realized so far. This aim is especially reflected in the specific context of the realized research. Namely, most of the previous studies pertain to unique language or geographical area and context of developed countries. This research includes the context of developing country (Serbia), but also comparative analysis with developed country (Finland) – developed not only in terms of economy, but also in terms of outstanding educational sector performances. Research on interrelation of marketing concept application and performances of HEIs was realized in the following manner. Application of marketing concept (market orientation) was analysed as one option of business orientations, alongside production and sales concept. HEIs were classified into three groups based on implemented business orientation, and then their performances were compared in order to test whether market oriented HEIs had better performances when compared to the rest of the sample. Several criteria were used for classification of HEIS into groups that relate to implemented business orientation. The main criterion refers to decision making in the institution. It is considered that market oriented HEIs base their decisions on systematically gathered and disseminated market intelligence. Performances that were analysed include: (overall) success, competitiveness, reputation and innovativeness of the institution, as well as satisfaction of students and employees. These performances were selected because of their specific importance in the context of market orientation. Positive influence that market orientation has on all these performances was firstly confirmed by theoretical findings. Based on these findings, research questions and aims were set for empirical research that includes comparative analysis of interrelation of market orientation and performances of HEIs in Serbia and Finland. Research of this kind usually includes experimental research design, which here was not fully applicable because of impossibility to introduce experimental factor when needed. Therefore, the research method that was chosen instead is poll research that follows the logic of ex post facto experiment. The research was carried out on the population of study programmes, not HEIs, as it is assumed that management of institutions can use different business orientations in managing different programmes on the same institution. In accordance with the aims of this research, the research sample is defined. The sample is stratified, disproportional and random and includes study programmes of HEIs in Serbia and Finland. The realized sample includes 97 units (study programmes, 65 from Serbia and 32 from Finland). Data needed for hypotheses testing was gathered from December 2014 till March 2015. Interviewees (persons included in structures that manage study programmes from the sample or persons familiar with the relevant issues) were personally contacted. The ones that agreed to contribute to the research filled in the questionnaire uploaded on web locations. Gained data was analysed for the purpose of defined research hypotheses testing i.e. for determining eventual influence that market orientation has on HEIs' performances. Two levels of analysis were applied. First the analysis on the whole sample was realized in order to get zero level correlation. In addition to that, relation of market orientation and HEIs' performances was controlled by the factors for which it was assumed that they might have influence on this relation: 1. location of HEI on which study programme is realized (Serbia or Finland), 2. size of study programme, and 3. type of HEI on which study programme is realized (private and state-owned in Serbia; university and university of applied sciences in Finland). The defined aims determined the manner of hypotheses testing and achieving the aims set for empirical research, i.e. the use of specific statistical methods. Primarily the χ2test (and Fischer's exact test) and t-test (and Leven's test of equal variances) were used for testing the significance of the differences identified in the sample, i.e. to test if market oriented HEIs differ from non-market oriented, and to test the influence that controlling factors have on the market orientation-performances relation. All statistical analyses were one-tailed and performed on level of significance of 95%. Analysis of the results has identified some very significant findings. Higher education institutions that apply marketing concept are more successful, competitive and reputable that institutions that implement other business orientations. Also, students and employees of these institutions are more satisfied than students and employees of non-market oriented HEIs. Research findings also indicate that application of marketing concept in HEIs contributes to competitiveness and innovation capacities of national economy. Assumptions about positive influence that marketing concept has on innovativeness of Higher Education Institutions were theoretically proven. But, empirically they were not confirmed, as the research results do not provide sufficient evidence for identifying positive/negative influence of market orientation on innovativeness of HEIs. Therefore, directions for necessary further research in this field were defined. It was foreseen in the research design to test whether significant difference exist between level of market orientation as a cause for different positioning of HEIs from Serbia and Finland on international higher education market. Research findings show that HEIs from Finland are slightly more market oriented, but much more successful /according to manager's evaluation), competitive and selective than institutions in Serbia. It is obvious that market orientation is one of the significant factors that cause these differences. On the other hand, research findings reveal that students and employees of HEIs located in Serbia are more satisfied than students and employees in Finland. Author's assumption is that lower satisfaction is caused by more sophisticated needs, requests and preferences of students and employees in Finland. But, this needs to be tested in further research. Research findings also indicate that market orientation’s influence on performances of higher education institutions (and therefore national economy) is very high in the case of large study programmes. All large programmes in the sample are market oriented and vast majority is successful. Having in mind that popularization of higher education is a global trend and that it includes augmentation of study programmes, need for further theoretical and empirical researches on marketing concept as important success factor of those programmes, is even more pronounced.