Marketization has forced higher education institutions (HEIs) to pursue student-as-customer (SAC) orientation. Despite its advantages, it has been raised that SAC could create more harm that may affect the pursuit to produce quality and balanced graduates. Much research has addressed the issue, but there remain paucity of empirical research on the extent to which students have embraced the customer identity (CI) and the impact of CI among students. Hence, this study seeks to determine the level of CI and the impact of CI on academic performance and student-lecturer relationship among Malaysian students. This study employed a quantitative approach. Data were obtained from a sample consisted of 300 students using a self-administered questionnaire. Data were analysed using descriptive analysis and structural equation modelling (SEM). The findings reveal that only a small number of students at Malaysia HEIs embrace the CI. Further, the effect of CI is only significant on academic performance, not on student-lecturer relationship. CI negatively affect academic performance, indicating the higher the CI, the lower the student academic performance. The findings enrich the understanding of the roles of CI among HEIs students and serve as a reference point that could stimulate and guide future research on the CI, particularly in Malaysia educational context.
student-as-customer identity; academic performance; student-lecturer relationship; relationship marketing; structural equation modelling
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