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Personal values in relation to graduate career choices

Edar Da Silva Añaña (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil, and Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil)
Walter Meucci Nique (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 2 March 2010




This paper aims to investigate the personal values predominating in different academic areas to identify relations that may be of interest to university managers. Exploratory in nature, it seeks to understand how human values can be used to enhance the academic courses according to the profile of each group.


The sample consisted of 1,609 students attending a large Brazilian university, whose values are measured using the Rokeach values survey. The data are firstly submitted to exploratory factor analysis to identify a set of factors later used to construct perceptual maps. Finally, the careers are grouped and typified according to the predominant values in each one.


Results suggest that students of some careers are more prone to be classified through their values than others, but in general terms each professional group shows some particularity. Most careers can be typified by the values students consider more important for them or by the values they depreciate, or by both. In some cases the combination of high evaluation in some dimensions with poor evaluation in others offered greater insight.

Research limitations/implications

The necessity to find a common structure of values applicable to a wide set of careers determined the exclusion of some values from the original scale that, while important for some professions, did not fit others. The lack of uniformity across careers determined the low variance explained by the common structure.


The paper offers interesting insights for university managers, especially those involved in the conception, positioning or repositioning of academic courses.



Da Silva Añaña, E. and Meucci Nique, W. (2010), "Personal values in relation to graduate career choices", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 158-168.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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