Perceptions and expectations of the technological proficiency levels of university business school graduates: representations of graduates and employers

Khurram, Muhammad (2020) Perceptions and expectations of the technological proficiency levels of university business school graduates: representations of graduates and employers. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The present study explores business school graduates’ experiences in acquiring computing skills, as well as employers’ experiences with the computer proficiency of recent business school graduates. Following on the work of Gibbs, Steel & Kuiper (2011) this study examines the experiences of business graduates from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada and local employers who hire these graduates. A qualitative research design was employed, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with eighteen (18) participants: twelve (12) business graduates and six (6) employers. Results were divided into three major themes: (1) graduate perceptions of their acquisition of computing skills within and outside their post-secondary program; (2) perceptions of the roles and responsibilities of business schools in the acquisition of computing skills, and; (3) employers’ perspectives on specific aspects of graduate computing skills. The findings show that graduates were positive in their appraisal of the value of computing skills in general, and have high levels of confidence about their ICT skills; however, the acquisition of such skills was found to be primarily learned informally, self-taught, or learned during work terms. Some graduates had little or no formal computing training and most participants had no more than a vague awareness of the scope and breadth of computing skills needed in a professional work environment. Thus, there appears to be some misalignment between workplace computer skill requirements, and program objectives. Employers perceive an appropriate balance between the computer proficiency of business graduates and the skills they need for the workplace. The data relating to skill deficits suggest that they are more prevalent in the areas of writing and communication – including grammar and spelling, and business writing. These findings raise questions about a potential gap or a weakness in the current approach to university education for business students. Although there is wide recognition that the primary aim of university business degree programs falls outside of technical training, there is clearly room for a more standardized approach to the teaching and assessment of computer skills. The findings suggest the need for better coordination between business schools and industry employers to better align the needs and expectations of employers with the goals and objectives of business programs, Recommendations are provided for greater collaboration between business graduates’ competencies, employer expectations and the ability of business schools to help standardize and assess computer skills and language proficiencies of their graduates. Finally, more research is necessary to study and help establish effective preparation, training, and intervention strategies for business school students with respect to ever-evolving technological changes and new business applications.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14614
Item ID: 14614
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 92-101).
Keywords: Information and Communication Technology, Business, Labour and Employment, Employers, Business graduates, Computing skills, Expectations
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1 May 2020
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Computer literacy--Newfoundland and Labrador; Business education graduates--Newfoundland and Labrador--Attitudes.

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