Enhancing university business curriculum using an importance-performance approach: A case study of the business management faculty of a university in Malaysia

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Purpose: This study seeks to investigate the potential gap between important dimensions of business graduates' attributes and the actual performance of these graduates in their post-graduate employment. These graduates have completed a business-related degree from the business management faculty of a higher education institution (HEI) located in Peninsular Malaysia. The dimensions of attributes and the performance of these graduates are considered in four broad areas, namely, knowledge, skills, abilities, and personality. Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire seeking responses from managers reflecting their importance ratings of essential attributes for business graduates, and the corresponding performance ratings of the graduates in these attributes, was distributed to managers of all companies employing the graduates from the business school. Importance-performance analysis was used to evaluate the managers' perceptions of these graduates and to determine their actual performance. The graduates' information was obtained from the records of the HEI's alumni. Findings: The results of this study reveal that managers attach different weights to different aspects of graduates' performance. Therefore, curriculum development should be directed towards attributes that are expected of these graduates and are relevant to the needs of the market and industry. This will allow for corrective action to take place to improve perceived problem areas. Research limitations/implications: Since this research is a case study of business management faculty graduates, future nationwide research could be carried out on graduates from all HEIs employed in different industries and involving different levels of management and employment to determine whether a consistent pattern is discernable. Originality/value: There are only a few studies that have included employer research surveys with the intention of evaluating factors contributing to graduate performance and improving the business management curriculum of HEIs in Malaysia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-569
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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