Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





academic attitudes, academic entitlement, higher education, student consumerism


Jackson, D.




This dissertation was guided by two research questions: (1) What causes academic entitlement? and, (2) what is the role of subgroups/typologies of academic entitlement? Relying on a mixed-method approach to explore these questions, survey, interview, and experimental methodologies were pursued. Findings are presented in three manuscripts (Chapters two through four). Chapter two explored the relationship between academic entitlement, learning styles, academic attitudes, and academic performance, and also explored how subtypes/subgroups of academic entitlement differ on the same measures. Undergraduate students (N=433) completed an online survey about their behaviours and attitudes towards university. While some support for the hypotheses was generated, effect sizes were generally small and accounted for a small portion of variance in academic entitlement subscales. The academic entitlement subgroup analysis provided some support for the suggestion that there are different groups (or types) of academic entitlement. Student in these groups showed different patterns of learning styles, academic well-being, and levels of academic cynicism. While students in these groups displayed different levels of these variables, academic entitlement group moderated only a few of the relationships between academic attitudes or behaviours and academic entitlement. Chapter three examined academic entitlement from the student perspective. Eight students participated in an interview where they answered questions about their university experience and discussed various attitudes and behaviours related to academic entitlement. Results from this study showed that three main themes emerged: Transition to University (Coping); Student Consumerism; and, Effort Fairness, and Deservingness. Overall, two main causes of academic entitlement emerged: Customer Orientation and Coping, the coping group was most apparent among students with the highest academic entitlement scores. Lastly, Chapter four explored the impact of frustration (a possible cause of academic entitlement) on tolerance for academic dishonesty (an attitude associated with academic entitlement) in an experimental study. Undergraduate students (N=151) were randomly assigned to either the control or experimental group. The control group completed a fair letter search task while the experimental group completed an unfair (impossible) letter search task. For the experimental group, the task was meant to induce frustration. All participants then completed a measure of tolerance for academic dishonesty. A relationship between frustration due to feeling wronged and behaviours associated with academic entitlement was not supported by the findings of this experiment. Results from these studies provided support for the existence of at least two types of academic entitlement: a customer orientation and coping. These types of academic entitlement will likely require different interventions that relate directly to the causes of academic entitlement.