Chinese students' complaining behavior: Hearing the silence

Purpose – Despite the competitive internationalization of higher education, international students' responses to dissatisfaction (consumer complaining behavior or CCB) are not well understood in New Zealand. While studies show that many factors, including culture, influence CCB, the None-Action mode in particular has been largely overlooked by researchers. The purpose of this paper is to examine Chinese student's CCB. Design/methodology/approach – The study employed a qualitative exploratory focus group design examining Chinese students' CCB. Data were analyzed in two stages. First, data were coded into various CCB modes. Next, data relating to the specific mode of None-Action were thematically analyzed. Five key themes for None-Action were revealed: Futility, Inadequate Information, Fear of Consequences, Complexity, and Internalization. Findings – This exploratory research found a high level of None-Action responses. It was apparent that culture was highly influential in participants' CCB responses and that these None-Action responses had an affective dimension. Research limitations/implications – Understanding None-Action responses to dissatisfaction among international students in higher education is critical if universities are to avoid adverse funding consequences. There are cultural and personal implications for students and strategic implications for higher education institutions in understanding Chinese students' Non-Action. The exploratory nature of the research means that it is designed to stimulate thought and debate on how to expand the body of knowledge on this mode of CCB. Originality/value – The research highlights the importance to higher education institutions of understanding the cultural and service-specific explanations for Non-Action as a response to student-consumer dissatisfaction.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Fitzpatrick, M., Davey, J. & Dai, L. (2012). Chinese students' complaining behavior: Hearing the silence. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 24(5), 738-754.