Managing the Relationship Between the Student and the University, a Case Study in the Context of Development and Alumni Relations
Merkel, Ryan Edward
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In this exploratory study, the relationship management perspective was used to understand how students and university agents make meaning of the mutual benefits and expectations in their relationship and how the relationship between students and the University informs the relationship between alumni and the University. The study used qualitative interviews with students and professionals from the development and alumni relations divisions of the University, as well as internal documents, participant observation, statistical data, and external publications in a case study framework. Findings suggest that the relationship management perspective can be used to understand student and alumni relationships with the University, however, the relationships are exchange oriented and are better conceptualized at the macro level and the micro level. Students and some professionals are defining philanthropy in broad terms. Theoretical implications expand relationship management theory, and practical implications suggest ways that the University can better manage the relationship with students.