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Article

Ilka Dunne and Anita Bosch

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the misunderstandings that hamper the graduate identity development process of black South African graduates in the first year of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the misunderstandings that hamper the graduate identity development process of black South African graduates in the first year of work. The authors introduce the role of an independent mediator in supporting identity development in a graduate development programme (GDP). The independent mediator mediates between graduate and manager when misunderstandings occur that inhibit the warranting process during professional identity development.

Design/methodology/approach

In seeking to understand the graduate transition from student to professional, the authors used identity studies as the foundation from which to track a group of 21 graduates on a year-long GDP, in a financial institution in Johannesburg, South Africa. A model of emergent graduate identity was utilised to gain insight into the warranting process and associated behaviours that graduates employ in their interactions with others in the workplace.

Findings

As warranting is based on people’s own assumptions and beliefs about a particular situation or role, misunderstandings can occur during the warranting process when graduates are determining their professional identity, and managers are either affirming of disaffirming this identity. These misunderstandings were exacerbated by the fact that the graduates were often South African multi-cultural, first-generation professionals who lacked insight into and experience of corporate dynamics, this impacted on how they found their place in the organisation. Both graduates and managers were often not equipped to deal with cultural, racial, and other differences. When the graduate programme manager stepped in to play the additional role of independent mediator, helping to mediate misinterpretations during the identity formation process, the negative impact of misunderstandings was lessened, and graduates transitioned to a professional identity with greater ease. Managers also learned about managing multi-cultural individuals and their own, often limiting, experiences and worldviews.

Practical implications

This highlights the value of a third-party intervention in graduate identity transitions, particularly in contexts where the graduate has little or no experience of what it means to be professional, and where managers are not equipped to deal with people who come from backgrounds that differ vastly from their own.

Originality/value

The role of a third-party in shaping the identities of graduates during the identity warranting process, referred to as the independent mediator in this paper, has not been presented in research before. Studies of this nature would give us insight into how best to support graduate identity development and improve the design of GDPs.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

Keywords

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Article

Leonard M. Holmes

With expansion of higher education in most developed and developing economies, graduates constitute a large section of the workforce. However, even prior to the economic…

Abstract

Purpose

With expansion of higher education in most developed and developing economies, graduates constitute a large section of the workforce. However, even prior to the economic problems of the past few years, the transition from higher education into graduate employment has not been and is not straightforward. The purpose of this paper is to draw upon relational, social constructionist perspectives to examine such transition and early careers in terms of “emergent identity” trajectories. The “graduate identity” is considered in terms of the interaction between identity claim by the individual and the identity ascriptions by others.

Design/methodology/approach

A model is presented, providing for five “modalities” of such emergent identity, whereby any particular individual may pass in varied trajectories. This is illustrated by three case examples of graduates, based on biographical interview data. The exploration is continued in terms of discussion of the discursive warranting of identity claims and ascriptions, enabling a reconsideration of the discourse of skills and attributes. Implications for research and practice are considered.

Findings

The paper argues that the approach presented provides a cogent approach for conceptualising and for engaging in empirical investigation of the early career trajectories of individuals entering post-graduation employment. Such individuals may “formally” be graduates, but face the task of “becoming” graduates, i.e. gaining acceptance by significant others that they are “worthy” of being employed in “graduate jobs”. That task involves identity claim making, warranting their claim on the identity of a graduate.

Research limitations/implications

The model and approach presented provide a framework for analysis of early-career trajectories of graduates, in a way that the dominant skills and attributes approach cannot. It contributes to other empirical studies based on qualitative, biographical research, by providing conceptual tools for the analysis of such studies.

Practical implications

The paper provides a practical approach to help undergraduates and new graduates to enhance their prospects for gaining employment they consider desirable and appropriate. It enables staff who seek to support students to gain appropriate employment to develop practical strategies, unencumbered by flawed notion of “skills” and “attributes”.

Social implications

Post-graduation employment continues to be a major policy issue for government, and a matter of considerable concern for students themselves and for their families. The approach presented promises considerable opportunity for addressing the critical issues faced.

Originality/value

The paper elaborates the graduate identity approach, and provides empirical support for the claims made.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 57 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article

Stephanie M. Jameson and Rick Holden

Discusses the second phase of a project on graduate employment in small hospitality firms. It explores the data from the first phase of the project using the concept of…

Abstract

Discusses the second phase of a project on graduate employment in small hospitality firms. It explores the data from the first phase of the project using the concept of graduate identity. The views of both graduates and their managers are examined. The reflections on the data suggest that a complex relationship exists between graduates, their managers and graduate identity. Suggests that hospitality graduates in small firms fail to develop a sense of graduate identity and that their managers lack understanding on how the employment of graduates “makes some difference”. Nevertheless, it is affirmed that graduate identity offers a useful perspective for much‐needed further research on the transition of graduates into SME employment.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 42 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article

Rosemary J. Perez, L. Wesley Harris, Jr, Claire K. Robbins and Cheryl Montgomery

The purpose of this study was to explore how graduate students demonstrated agency after having oppressive or invalidating experiences based on their socially constructed…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to explore how graduate students demonstrated agency after having oppressive or invalidating experiences based on their socially constructed identities during graduate school and the effects of leveraging agency.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used critical constructivist qualitative methods (i.e. interviews and visual methods) to explore how 44 graduate students across an array of disciplines and fields at two public research institutions in the USA demonstrated agency after having oppressive or invalidating experiences targeting one or more of their socially constructed identities.

Findings

In response to oppressive or invalidating experiences related to their socially constructed identity, participants engaged in self-advocacy, sought/created support via community, conserved their psychological and emotional energy and constructed space for identity-conscious scholarship and practice. Although participants leveraged their agency, the strategies they used were often geared toward surviving environments that were not designed to affirm their identities or support their success.

Research limitations/implications

This study highlights the need for additional research to complicate educators’ understandings of how graduate students respond to oppressive or invalidating experiences and the nature of bi-directional socialization processes.

Practical implications

The findings of this study reinforce the need to foster equitable and inclusive graduate education experiences where students may use their agency to thrive rather than to survive.

Originality/value

Few studies examine graduate students’ agency during their socialization to their disciplines and fields. This study adds complexity to researchers’ understandings of bi-directional socialization processes in the context of graduate education.

Details

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-4686

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Article

Ray R. Buss, Ron Zambo, Debby Zambo and Tiffany R. Williams

The purpose of this paper is to examine how entering students and graduating students from an education doctorate (EdD) program viewed themselves as learners, leaders, and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how entering students and graduating students from an education doctorate (EdD) program viewed themselves as learners, leaders, and action researchers. Further, the paper examines differences in the identity trajectories between the two groups. Finally, the paper suggested a new identity status – scholarly and influential practitioners (SaIP) emerged from melding the three identity statuses.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper employed a mixed method design.

Findings

Results indicated students new to the program held strong identities as learners and leaders, but not as action researchers; whereas graduates held stronger views of each type of identity, especially as researchers. Program features such as cycles of action research (CAR), and leader-scholar communities were instrumental in influencing graduatesidentities as researching professionals.

Research limitations/implications

SaIP emerge when doctoral programs enhance the learner and leader identity statuses of doctoral students while at the same time fostering the construction of a researching professional identity status.

Practical implications

Development of researching professionals can be accomplished by fostering a researcher ethos during their participation in a doctoral program. For working professionals, this can be accomplished by requiring and supporting ongoing CAR in a doctoral program.

Social implications

With respect to social implications, researching professionals, especially those in education offer substantial promise of achieving the educational reforms the school so desperately need.

Originality/value

This research examines how one institution has attempted to develop researching professionals during their preparation in an EdD program, which is based on Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED) working principles and design features.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

Keywords

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Article

Michael Tomlinson

In the context of far-reaching changes in higher education and the labour market, there has been extensive discussion on what constitutes graduate employability and what…

Abstract

Purpose

In the context of far-reaching changes in higher education and the labour market, there has been extensive discussion on what constitutes graduate employability and what shapes graduates’ labour market outcomes. Many of these discussions are based on skills-centred approaches and related supply-side logic. The purpose of this paper is to develop an alternative, relational conceptualisation of employability based on the concept of capitals. It discusses how this provides a more detailed and multi-dimensional account of the resources graduates draw upon when transitioning to the labour market.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a new model on graduate employability, linked to five areas of capital which are seen as constitutive of graduates’ employability and significant to their transitions to the labour market. The paper draws together existing conceptual approaches and research studies to illustrate the different features of the model and how they relate to graduate employability. It also discusses some practical implications for those helping to facilitate graduates’ transitions to the job market.

Findings

The paper argues that the graduate capital model presents a new way of understanding graduate employability which addresses the challenges of facilitating graduates’ transitions and early career management. The forms of capital outlined are conceived as key resources that confer benefits and advantages onto individuals. These resources encompass a range of human, social, cultural, identity and psycho-social dimensions and are acquired through graduates’ formal and informal experiences.

Research limitations/implications

Whilst this is a conceptual model, it has potentially strong implications for future research in this area in terms of further research exploration on the core components and their application in the labour market.

Practical implications

This re-conceptualization of graduate employability has significant implication for graduates’ career management and strategising in developing resources for enhancing their transitions to and progression within the labour market. It also has implications for career educators in developing practical employability strategies that can be used within institutional settings.

Social implications

The paper raises salient implications for the effective and equitable management of graduate outcomes post-graduation which has clear relevance for all stakeholders in graduate employability, including students/graduates, career educators and employers.

Originality/value

The paper develops a new model for conceptualising graduate employability and illustrates and applies this to discussion of graduate employability. It also raises practical applications around the different components of the model.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 59 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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Article

Peter Reddy and Rachel Shaw

Research into the experience of BSc Psychology students and graduates in the graduate transition was carried out to enquire if ontology is central to educational…

Abstract

Purpose

Research into the experience of BSc Psychology students and graduates in the graduate transition was carried out to enquire if ontology is central to educational transformation; if professional work experience is important in the process of becoming; and how graduates experience the transition from student to professional. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

In this qualitative longitudinal in-depth interview investigation four one-year work placement students were interviewed twice and five graduates were interviewed at graduation and again two years later. Student transcriptions were analysed thematically and graduate transcriptions received interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Findings

Placement students became legitimate participants in professional life. Graduates thought that BSc Psychology should enable a career and were dissatisfied when it did not. Professional psychology dominated career aspiration. Relationships and participation in work communities of practice were highly significant for learning, personal and professional identity and growth.

Practical implications

Ontology may be central to educational transformation in BSc Psychology and is facilitated by integrated work experience. A more vocational focus is also advocated.

Originality/value

The UK Bachelor’s degree in psychology is increasingly concerned with employability however becoming a professional requires acting and being as well as knowledge and skills and Barnett and others have called for higher education to embrace an ontological turn. This is explored in the context of BSc Psychology student experience and reflection on work placements, graduation and early career development.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 61 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

Content available
Article

Rachel Maxwell and Alejandro Armellini

The purpose of this paper is to introduce an evidence-based, transferable framework of graduate attributes and associated university toolkit to support the writing of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce an evidence-based, transferable framework of graduate attributes and associated university toolkit to support the writing of level-appropriate learning outcomes that enable the university to achieve its mission to Transform Lives + Inspire Change.

Design/methodology/approach

An iterative process of co-design and co-development was employed to produce both the framework and the associated learning outcomes toolkit.

Findings

There is tangible benefit in adopting an integrated framework that enables students to develop personal literacy and graduate identity. The toolkit enables staff to write assessable learning outcomes that support student progression and enable achievement of the framework objective.

Research limitations/implications

While the framework has been in use for two years, institutional use of the toolkit is still in its early stages. Phase 2 of the project will explore how effectively the toolkit achieves the framework objective.

Practical implications

The introduction of a consistent, integrated framework enables students to develop and actively increase personal literacy through the deliberate construction of their unique graduate identity.

Social implications

Embedding the institutional Changemaker attributes alongside the agreed employability skills enables students to develop and articulate specifically what it means to be a “Northampton graduate”.

Originality/value

The uniqueness of this project is the student-centred framework and the combination of curricular, extra- and co-curricular initiatives that provide a consistent language around employability across disciplines. This is achieved through use of the learning outcomes toolkit to scaffold student progression.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

Keywords

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Article

Jacques Angot, Hedley Malloch and Birgit Kleymann

The paper aims to show how professional identity is constructed at a very early stage of initial management education. In so doing, it questions the notion of le métier in…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to show how professional identity is constructed at a very early stage of initial management education. In so doing, it questions the notion of le métier in management.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a study of the experiences of six French management apprentices (or apprentis) who participated in a management apprentice programme in 2005. The research methodology is qualitative and illuminates the process of professional identity building. The central question of the study concerns the manager as an individual, an actor, and the link between the individual and his or her métier.

Findings

The findings suggest that from their very first immersion into the real world of corporate employment at junior management level, students construct different types of professional identity which can be shown as a 2×2 matrix whose independent axes are the type of acting displayed by the apprentis; and the degree to which the apprentis enacted their roles. This can be interpreted using the coupling system metaphor. Some of these types of professional identity are born of cynicism and disillusion engendered by their experiences.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on a small number of students drawn from one business school and concentrated in one job function – marketing.

Practical implications

The paper draws attention to the implications of the findings for those in business schools and organisations concerned with the formation of professional identity in young graduates.

Originality/value

The article proposes a new model for the formation of professional identity; and is the first study that deals with the French Apprenti manager programme.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 50 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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Article

Lisa Perrone and Margaret H. Vickers

Few studies have addressed the experiences of a graduate’s transition from university to the world of work. Understanding how graduates react and respond to this journey…

Abstract

Few studies have addressed the experiences of a graduate’s transition from university to the world of work. Understanding how graduates react and respond to this journey will provide universities with the ability to prepare and equip students for the road ahead. The purpose of this particular Australian case study was to extend understanding of the experience of making the transition from university to work, and to identify questions for further study. Data were collected using semi‐structured interviews, which were transcribed and analysed for clusters of common themes. Four themes emerged from the case study: “an uncertain feeling”, “inflated expectations”, “the work experience paradox” and “a low time”. It is hoped that understanding this graduate’s experiences will assist higher education institutions, recruiting companies and students to better understand and prepare for this significant life passage.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 45 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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