Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Curriculum and Instruction PhD

First Advisor

Paul S. Brantley

Second Advisor

Lyndon G. Furst

Third Advisor

Annetta M. Gibson

Abstract

Problem. For several decades educators, researchers, and employers have expressed concern about the quality of business graduates that are entering the workplace as entry-level professionals. The major concern of these stakeholders is that many students who are leaving tertiary institutions lack the necessary employability skills needed for career success. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate if undergraduate schools of business are adequately preparing their students for the workplace through the incorporation of employability skills throughout the curriculum. To achieve this purpose, the study measured the perceptions of both final-year undergraduate business students and their professors to determine the extent to which they believe employability skills are important for future success in the workplace, the extent to which those skills are integrated in the curriculum, the degree to which students possess those skills and the strategies used to integrate those skills in the undergraduate business curriculum.

Method. The population for this study consisted of 293 undergraduate students and 45 business school professors from five tertiary institutions in the states of Michigan, Indiana, and Tennessee. The study employed the survey research method to ascertain from students and their professors their perceptions of the extent to which employability skills are integrated in the undergraduate business curriculum. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistic and the t-test of two independent means.

Results. Eight hypotheses were analyzed to ascertain from the students and professors their perceptions of employability skills in their undergraduate business curriculum. The findings suggested that students and faculty within each of the five institutions perceived employability skills to be important across the business core classes and the majors. The students and faculty within the five schools differed on the degree to which most of the skills were integrated, and the degree to which the students possessed the skills. Findings from the study also revealed that the institutions relied heavily on the lecture method and to a lesser degree group work to integrate employability skills across the curriculum.

Conclusion. Based on the findings from the study, it seems that the five institutions are aware of the need for their students to be technically competent, as well as equipped with the necessary employability skills needed for success in the workplace. The institutions are making some effort to integrate most of the skills across the undergraduate business curriculum. However, greater effort needs to be made of experiential learning strategies that will make the classroom experience more reflective of the workplace.

Subject Area

Business education graduates, Business--Vocational guidance.

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