As competition for funding and students intensifies, it becomes increasingly important for psychology programs to have an image that is attractive and makes them stand out from other programs. The current study uses the instrumental-symbolic framework from the marketing domain to determine the image of different master's programs in psychology and examines how these image dimensions relate to student attraction and competitor differentiation. The samples consist of both potential students (N = 114) and current students (N = 68) of three psychology programs at a Belgian university: industrial and organizational psychology, clinical psychology, and experimental psychology. The results demonstrate that both instrumental attributes (e.g., interpersonal activities) and symbolic trait inferences (e.g., sincerity) are key components of the image of psychology programs and predict attractiveness as well as differentiation. In addition, symbolic image dimensions seem more important for current students of psychology programs than for potential students.
Education, Image, Instrumental–symbolic framework, Marketing, Psychology
Human Resources Management | Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources
Journal of Psychology
Taylor & Francis (Routledge): STM, Behavioural Science and Public Health Titles
VAN HOYE, Greet; LIEVENS, Filip; DE SOETE, Britt; LIBBRECHT, Nele; SCHOLLAERT, Eveline; and BALIGANT, Dimphna.
The image of Psychology programs: The value of the instrumental-symbolic framework. (2014). Journal of Psychology. 148, (4), 457-475. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/5778
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