The Impact of Facebook on University-Students Relationships
AbstractThe advent of increased competition between higher education institutions (HEI) has resulted in a transformation within the education market. To survive in this internationally competitive and hostile market, HEIs must engage in mutually beneficial relationships with key stakeholders and tailor management practices in line with their vision. Thus there is a symbiotic relationship between the HEI, their stakeholders and the stakeholders’ needs. This article aims to clarify the interests of the primary stakeholder, the Romanian student, by analysing their perception of the Facebook engagement strategies used by Romanian universities. In writing this case study we used a quantitative approach - online questionnaires - distributed to student stakeholders through the official Facebook accounts of the public and private Romanian universities. The research was restricted to 285 questionnaires; the number of valid questionnaires obtained during the time allocated for data collection. The intrinsic value of the study is its integrative approach to the theories and studies regarding the engagement strategies available to HEIs through social media and the research of a heretofore unexplored area in Romanian literature. The study has three key findings: 1) Students welcome an active official Facebook presence by their University and professors; 2) Students have a direct interest and strongly believe that they will derive benefit from the Facebook publication of academic and administrative information; and 3) Students would be highly supportive and appreciative of informal Facebook interaction. Finally we recommend further qualitative research to assess the totality of the impact of social media on the university-students relationship.
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