TITLE

Transparenzorientierte Informationssysteme komplexer Dienstleistungen: Bedeutung ratingbasierter Rankingangaben im Nutzungszyklus des primären Dienstleistungsnutzers im universitären Hochschulwesen

AUTHOR(S)
Hensler, Bruno
PUB. DATE
May 2011
SOURCE
University of St. Gallen, Business Dissertations;5/16/2011, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Dissertation
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Services are becoming increasingly important in maturing economies. Additionally, as a result of changes in overall business conditions and needs in general, primary service users (SUPRIM) are facing an ever growing selection of service options, which has led to a higher degree of complexity and a growing uncertainty. Relational rankings based on a rating process can be seen as systematic, comparative, transparency-oriented information systems which seek to overcome complexity and uncertainty. Given the lack of research regarding the importance of such information systems from the point of view of the SUPRIM, this study is based on an academic university program seen as an example of a complex service. Following the usage cycle we explored answers to the questions of how the SUPRIM is using ratings-based rankings and what its functions, its effects and its overall value will be. In this triangular, exploration- oriented study, the Signaling Theory, in which theoretical economic and behaviorism approaches are reflected, provides the framework for our research and explanations. Findings based on explorative interviews with applicants (preutilisation), students (utilisation), and alumni (post-utilisation) were quantitatively validated with data from our survey at University of St. Gallen (HSG) graduates at both the bachelor's and master's level and additionally reflected in discussions involving intercultural focus groups. In contrast to the purpose described above, there are clear signs that university rankings lead to a higher level of complexity from an objective point of view: The SUPRIM first has to become familiar with the criteria used and their weighting in the rating system before being able to interpret the ranking information. However, we show that, operating mainly on a sense of trust, the SUPRIM uses the ranking information as references for information, selection, confirmation and communication of the meaningfulness of his own opinion and decision making. Based on the simplistic mindset of the SUPRIM, rankings seem to reduce complexity and uncertainty from a subjective point of view. Not only are rankings highly relevant in the service management of universities, but university managers must be attentive at all times to the dynamics of the overall effects rankings can cause. From a methodical perspective, the research has further developed the aggregations and terminologies of the means-end-analysis, which has proven to be highly productive. In addition to external validation, further research is needed concerning analogies between rankings and aspects of brand management. Moreover. in light of the increasing utilization of social media, future dynamics in the use of rankings need to be explored.
ACCESSION #
82758208

 

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