Survey of external stakeholders' image of STOU

Paiboon Kachentaraphan, Orasa Pankhao and Monwipa Wongrujira
Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University
Nonthaburi, Thailand

To enhance institutional management, universities should be fully aware of the views of their stakeholders, especially those who have never experienced a distance learning system before. This survey research aims to understand the University's external stakeholders potential students, current students, and media and opinion leaders in terms of (1) their media exposure; (2) their perceptions; (3) their participation in the University; (4) the STOU's image; and (5) the relationships between media exposure and perceptions of the STOU.

A survey method was employed to collect data from a sample of 2,120 from 12 provinces around the country. The study population of the University's external stakeholders consisted of the general public, executives and workers in both the governmental and private sector, alumni, community leaders, academics, and media professionals. Stratified random sampling was applied in the sample selection process. The quantitative data was analysed statistically, including frequencies, percentages, means, standard deviations, Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficient, and chi-square.

The result were as follows:

1 External stakeholders were exposed to STOU information at the lowest level.
2 Most external stakeholders had a high perception of the STOU.
3 Most external stakeholders had never participated in any of the University's activities.
4 The external stakeholders had a highly positive image of the STOU.
5 There was a statistically significant correlation between the external stakeholders' perception of the STOU and their media exposure (broadcasting media, the Internet, outdoor media, interpersonal communication and CD/VDO) (p<.05).

Strategic plans to build and enhance the external stakeholders' perception and image of the University are suggested, especially that there should be various institutional plans concerning synergy strategy, public relations strategy, and marketing strategy.