Students' perception of quality assurance activities: Case study from the European higher education market

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Management Department

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Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

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Purpose: Higher education is one of the key sectors in any economy that plays a major role in the sustainability and enhancement of the society. Hence, the new reform program in the European higher education aims to create a quality culture within the universities. This paper presents a conceptual contribution as a way to improve the social sustainability performance within the higher education institutions (HEIs) in Europe. Design/methodology/approach: The paper starts with an overview of the Polish higher education system as an example of a European country implementing the European Standards and Guidelines in higher education. This is followed by a comprehensive literature review of the quality assurance (QA) policies in order to identify the main players who are working to build trust and sustainability in higher education. The literature review ends with a link between the perceived benefits of QA and the behavior of the students, namely students' involvement in QA activities. The research is composed of two exploratory studies. The first exploratory research was conducted with the objective of identifying the Polish higher education market. The second exploratory study was conducted to meet the main players in the European QA organizations, to be able to understand the overall European experience. Findings: The literature reviews, as well as the results of the two exploratory studies, lead to the development of a proposed conceptual framework. The paper ends with the implications for management action and suggestions for future empirical work. Originality/value: This paper presents a conceptual contribution to the perception of the students to the QA activities as a way to improve the social sustainability performance within the HEIs in Europe. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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