Deliberate institutional differentiation through graduate attributes: Implementing professional skills at MacEwan School of Business

Lyle Benson (Department of Organizational Behaviour, Human Resources Management and Management, School of Business, MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada)
Rickard Enström (Department of Decision Sciences, School of Business, MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the creation and deliberate positioning of a new Bachelor of Commerce program at MacEwan School of Business, Canada, by formally integrating professional skills in the curriculum. Through institutional narratives and statistical measurements, the authors detail the process from the first broad conversation and the different phases of the institutional deliberations to a measurement of students’ development of professional skills and self-confidence through the eyes of student peer coaches.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explains the institutional thinking process and the inputs that were sought when creating the new Bachelor of Commerce program with integrated professional skills. Hard data were collected on student peer coaches’ development of professional skills through a scale for assessing managerial competencies for undergraduate business students. In addition, coaches’ development of peer-coaching self-confidence was measured. This allows for the correlation between the two constructs self-confidence and professional skills development to be measured.

Findings

The formal implementation of professional skills and peer-coaching of professional skills in the Bachelor of Commerce program showed to be effective in furthering students’ development of professional skills and self-confidence. Also, this study illustrates the need for deliberate and systematic planning, and the inherent differentiating opportunities, when creating a new degree program.

Originality/value

This paper encourages institutional positioning initiatives and presents insights into the training of large cohorts of undergraduate business in their acquisition of professional skills.

Keywords

Citation

Benson, L. and Enström, R. (2017), "Deliberate institutional differentiation through graduate attributes: Implementing professional skills at MacEwan School of Business", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 36 No. 6, pp. 817-827. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-08-2016-0148

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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