Students as mystery shoppers: lowering knowledge sharing barriers in higher education

M. O: Tukiainen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


    This empirical research paper focuses on discussing potential knowledge sharing barriers volunteering students as mystery shoppers perceived in the context of higher education. More specifically, the focus is on students’ ideas on finding solutions to lowering individual knowledge sharing barriers, i.e. improving the quality of their instruction.
    Mystery shopping is a method of observing service performance from the user, or customer, perspective and it has been widely used to evaluate the overall service quality within service businesses. Using empirical data from students volunteering as mystery shoppers appears not as a widely used research and development tool.
    Moreover, there is little context-specific research on learning and teaching in such a knowledge intensive community like a university from the perspective of knowledge management (KM). KM offers thus a useful approach for analysing learning and teaching, as well as improving the processes of knowledge creation.
    A Finnish technical university and its student union organised a mystery shopping project with 45 student participants. They observed their learning experiences for six weeks in order to complement data from other sources. The students kept a casual theme-based diary on four larger topics: teaching staff and teaching (including pedagogical competence and teaching culture, instruction and guidance, course arrangements), students and the learning culture, student services and learning environment. The initial goal of the project was to add a student voice on the processes of developing learning and teaching in higher education.
    The research approach represents qualitative content analysis in which knowledge-sharing barriers were first recognised from the qualitative mystery shopper data. Next those instances where the students offered their solution to lowering that barrier were selected for further analysis. The results identify learner suggestions that may contribute to lowering knowledge sharing barriers. Result also indicate that individual knowledge sharing barriers as described in the literature appear to be valid in a higher education setting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication 44th Annual Conference Of The European Society For Engineering Education
    Subtitle of host publication12-15 September 2016, Tampere, Finland
    Place of PublicationTampere
    ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-012-0
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2016
    Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
    EventAnnual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education -
    Duration: 1 Jan 1900 → …


    ConferenceAnnual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education
    Period1/01/00 → …

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 0

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education


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