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Article
Publication date: 5 November 2020

Sajjad Ahmad, Shehzad Ahmad and Kanwal Ameen

The purpose of this paper is to study the self-perceptions of university information professionals about continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities regarding…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the self-perceptions of university information professionals about continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities regarding their soft skills.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative design using in-depth interviews was used. The population was all the information professionals working in the public sector universities of Pakistan, but the geographic range of the population, to reduce travelling expenses and to complete the study in time, the interviews were restricted to the universities of the capital city Islamabad and provincial capital Peshawar. A total of 21 interviews were conducted using a snowball sampling technique to select information professionals.

Findings

The findings revealed that only three information professionals attended CPD opportunities in soft skills. More than half of the information professionals stated that CPD programmes have an overall “good” impact on the development of their soft skills. Similarly, more than half of the participants stated that CPD training opportunities on soft skills are very limited. The majority of the participants held professional associations responsible for the development of information professionals’ soft skills. It was also found that communication and persuasion skills, self-management skills and interpersonal skills were the top three soft skill categories for which they urged CPD programmes.

Research limitations/implications

During interviews, most of the Assistant Librarians were not expressive and comfortable. This might be because of a lack of their soft skills knowledge, poor communication skills and interview anxiety.

Originality/value

According to the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first of its kind in Pakistan that dealt with the CPD opportunities regarding soft skills of university information professionals using a qualitative research design.

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Article
Publication date: 11 January 2019

Christina W. Yao and Minerva D. Tuliao

The purpose of this paper is to explore graduate students’ perception of how soft skills are developed at a transnational university in Vietnam, and how these soft skills

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1146

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore graduate students’ perception of how soft skills are developed at a transnational university in Vietnam, and how these soft skills contribute to their perceived employability.

Design/methodology/approach

This study utilized a qualitative case study method. In depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 graduate students at Vietnamese–German University.

Findings

Findings suggest that faculty utilized classroom-based practices to provide students the opportunity to enhance soft skills that are perceived to contribute to employability, such as skills related to independent work, interpersonal relationships and the ability to work in global contexts. In addition, interacting with international faculty played a large part in providing students the opportunity to develop their independent skills, critical thinking, communication and cultural competence.

Practical implications

Implications include multiple approaches, including faculty training, curriculum development and learner preparation. Institutions must consider how their curriculum contributes to the development of soft skills and how international faculty are prepared to engage meaningfully with students, particularly within specific global and political contexts. In addition, graduate students must also be prepared to engage in a classroom that promotes group work, class presentations and independent work.

Originality/value

This study provides insight on how a transnational institution can foster soft skills for employability in graduate students in Vietnam. Considering the growth of collaborative transnational institutions in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, findings and implications from this study provide recommendations on how to better prepare graduates for employability within a global economy.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

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Article
Publication date: 17 March 2012

Faheem Ahmed, Luiz Fernando Capretz, Salah Bouktif and Piers Campbell

Most of the studies carried out on human factor in software development concentrate primarily on personality traits. However, soft skills which largely help in determining…

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1622

Abstract

Purpose

Most of the studies carried out on human factor in software development concentrate primarily on personality traits. However, soft skills which largely help in determining personality traits have been given comparatively little attention by researchers. The purpose of this paper is to find out whether employers' soft skills requirements, as advertised in job postings, within different roles of software development, are similar across different cultures.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors review the literature relating to soft skills before describing a study based on 500 job advertisements posted on well‐known recruitment sites from a range of geographical locations, including North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The study makes use of nine defined soft skills to assess the level of demand for each of these skills related to individual job roles within the software industry.

Findings

It was found that in the cases of designer, programmer and tester, substantial similarity exists for the requirements of soft skills, whereas only in the case of system analyst is dissimilarity present across different cultures. It was concluded that cultural difference does not have a major impact on the choice of soft skills requirements in hiring new employee in the case of the software development profession.

Originality/value

Specific studies concerning soft skills and software development have been sporadic and often incidental, which highlights the originality of this work. Moreover, no concrete work has been reported in the area of soft skills and their demand as a part of job requirement sets in diverse cultures, which increases the value of this paper.

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Article
Publication date: 22 December 2020

Sajjad Ahmad, Kanwal Ameen and Shehzad Ahmad

The purpose of this study is to investigate the self-perceptions of university information professionals about the current state of their soft skills and to highlight the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the self-perceptions of university information professionals about the current state of their soft skills and to highlight the barriers faced in the development of such skills.

Design/methodology/approach

A sequential mixed method research design using a questionnaire followed by in-depth interviews as data collection tools were used to achieve the objectives of the study. Self-completion questionnaires were used to collect the data from 560 respondents spread over 33 universities of Pakistan. Then, 21 interviews were conducted with purposely selected library and information professionals at the qualitative phase.

Findings

The findings of the survey revealed that the majority of the information professionals perceived themselves “moderately competent” in soft skills. Only 14.8% information professionals considered themselves “competent”. The qualitative findings revealed that university library and information professionals generally faced several barriers in the development of their soft skills that included “lack of administrative support”, “lack of personal commitment”, “lack of financial support by the parent organizations”, and so many others, which might have affected their current levels of soft skills.

Research limitations/implications

The possible limitation of this study may be the bias of the respondents, toward their self-judgment. During interviews, most of the assistant librarians were not comfortable and expressive. This might be due to lack of soft skills knowledge, interview anxiety and poor communication skills.

Originality/value

This research is the first study in Pakistan that dealt with the state of soft skills and barriers in its development among university library and information professionals having a large number (N = 372) of respondents.

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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2020

Johannes Cornelius Steyn

literature and research internationally indicate a lack of sufficient facilitation of soft skills development in entry-level internal auditors (internal audit graduates…

Abstract

Purpose

literature and research internationally indicate a lack of sufficient facilitation of soft skills development in entry-level internal auditors (internal audit graduates upon entering the workplace), although it is essential for entry-level internal auditors to be able to apply soft skills effectively. The purpose of this paper is to determine the extent to which these international views and findings on soft skills development are evident in South Africa according to practising internal auditors, students and facilitators. Comparisons are also drawn between the perceptions of practising internal auditors, students and facilitators.

Design/methodology/approach

Purposive sampling was used, and data were collected using a structured questionnaire and an interview survey with quantitative analysis.

Findings

In general, the results concur with the literature in terms of the lack of sufficient facilitation and the importance of soft skills development in entry-level internal auditors in South Africa for all three groups. Significant differences were also found between some of the perceptions of practising internal auditors, students and facilitators.

Practical implications

This study benefits internal audit employers, students and facilitators because soft skills are an in-demand graduate attribute and the application of alternative teaching–learning activities to develop students' soft skills also promotes deep learning through student engagement.

Originality/value

The identification of the 21 soft skills categories from the literature, which should be developed in entry-level internal auditors, has not been researched before as well as the perspectives of students and facilitators in South Africa on soft skills development.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2018

Nida’a K. AbuJbara and Jody A. Worley

This paper aims to highlight the importance of soft skills for leadership and offers recommendations for soft skill development training for the next generation of leaders.

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1596

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to highlight the importance of soft skills for leadership and offers recommendations for soft skill development training for the next generation of leaders.

Design/methodology/approach

An integrated review of current research literature was conducted on management, leadership and soft skills to develop recommendations for integrating the development of soft skills in leadership development training protocol.

Findings

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work for soft skills development or measurement. Each soft skill is defined differently and should be assessed based on different behavioral actions. Progress in this area of measurement development will make a great impact on the use of soft skills. The development of assessment tools for the different soft skills across professional disciplines is assumed to enhance other aspects of transformational leadership such as coaching and mentoring.

Research limitations/implications

Current strategies for the assessment and measurement of soft skills present an obstacle for including these skills in current leadership training models.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for the development of soft skills for the next generation of leaders and offers recommendations for integrating the development of soft skills in leadership training programs.

Originality/value

This paper fulfills an identified need to study how soft skills can be measured and assessed. This is important given that specific skills vary across professional disciplines and organizational contexts.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2019

Grant Samkin and Monique Keevy

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the extent to which a case study developed by a financial institution and completed within a collaborative learning environment…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the extent to which a case study developed by a financial institution and completed within a collaborative learning environment can be used to develop soft skills.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire research instrument comprising open and closed response questions was used to collect the data.

Findings

The case study developed by the external stakeholder was found to be useful in developing soft skills. The primary skills identified by respondents were decision-making, problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and research ability. However, the respondents believed that the collaborative learning element had the greatest impact on the development of skills, particularly ethical behaviour, professionalism and personal attributes.

Research limitations/implications

The results are not generalisable beyond the scope of the particular higher education institution in which the study was conducted and the country in which the study was situated. Additionally, this paper measured soft skills development through perceptions of participating students. An objective measurement of students’ immediate soft skills improvement is not considered. Nonetheless, the findings provide guidance to educators on how a case study developed by a financial institution and completed within a collaborative learning environment can be used to develop soft skills.

Originality/value

The paper makes three contributions. The first is to detail how a real-world case study with a substantial technical component can be used to develop soft skills. Second, the paper contributes to the real-world case study and collaborative learning elements literature and ascertains the effectiveness of both methods in developing various soft skills. Finally, the paper contributes to the limited literature on how external stakeholders can become involved in the development of accounting curriculum content.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 August 2021

Farida Aryani, Hillman Wirawan, Abdul Saman, Sulaiman Samad and Muhammad Jufri

This study aims at investigating the indirect effect of soft skills on career engagement through the role of psychological capital (PsyCap) in different age groups. The…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims at investigating the indirect effect of soft skills on career engagement through the role of psychological capital (PsyCap) in different age groups. The social cognitive theory (SCT) and job demands-resource model (JD-R) were employed to explain the effect of perceived skill mastery on PsyCap and career engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were collected from 707 high school students, 150 university students and 165 employees using a three-wave data collection technique. This study measured soft skills, PsyCap and career engagement at different age groups (i.e. high school students, university students and employees). The data were analysed using a moderated-mediation technique.

Findings

The results showed that soft skills positively influenced PsyCap and eventually increased career engagement in all age groups. However, the effect was stronger for students (both in high school and university) than employees in the workplaces. Unlike most students, employees related soft skills to performance. Regardless of the effect on performance, students would be more likely than employees to perceive soft skill mastery as a source of efficacy.

Research limitations/implications

First, the education system should direct more attention to developing students' non-cognitive skills. Second, people should understand that their career advancement continues in the workplace context. Organizations can foster employees' soft skills by providing more opportunities to develop new skills.

Originality/value

This study sheds light on the importance of soft skills beyond academic and workplace performance. This study is among the few empirical investigations that reveal career engagement factors across different career development stages.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 63 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2010

R. de Villiers

This paper explores the changing needs of employers and the business community in relation to the balance between technical and soft skills, such as communication skills

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3782

Abstract

This paper explores the changing needs of employers and the business community in relation to the balance between technical and soft skills, such as communication skills, business presentation skills and other interpersonal skills. The researcher discusses the importance of soft relational skills for all business graduates, including accountants. The study further explains how soft skills can complement the technical skills taught to ensure that graduates are equipped to deal with the demands of a complex global business environment. The needs of different stakeholders, possible barriers to change and the way in which academic faculty can contribute are reviewed.

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 April 2019

Chiara Succi and Michaela Wieandt

A fast-changing environment entails several reflections about skills and attitudes required to face the increasing complexity brought by the “glocal, liquid and networked”…

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4980

Abstract

Purpose

A fast-changing environment entails several reflections about skills and attitudes required to face the increasing complexity brought by the “glocal, liquid and networked” world in which workers operate (Bauman, 2003; Clarke, 2017). In the literature, an increased attention has been devoted to the impact of interpersonal skills and personal characteristics on employability (Heckman and Kautz, 2012; Succi, 2019; Wheeler, 2016). In this context, the so-called soft skills become of crucial importance, but a lack of academic attention devoted to their development, and a deficit of companies in integrating soft skills in their selection, induction and training processes have been identified (Hurrell, 2016). The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory study has been designed to describe the tools in use to assess soft skills, during the recruitment process and those to develop soft skills of graduates, during their first years on the job. In January 2017, two symmetrical online questionnaires have been sent to 500 HR managers and 240 graduates of a European business school, in Italy and Germany.

Findings

Results show that graduates and managers describe differently the use of tools to develop graduates’ soft skills. The large majority of HR managers indicate they offer formal training to young graduates and that they are involved in the performance appraisal sessions, while only 22 percent of students confirm they receive formal training and only 26 percent declare to be inserted in a performance appraisal process. Moreover, concerning the assessment of soft skills during the selection process, significant differences between Italian and German companies emerged.

Research limitations/implications

This research constitutes the first step to acknowledge the lack of initiatives devoted to soft skills development, despite their rising importance for the job market.

Practical implications

Findings allow initiating a discussion about a strategic topic in human resources management: whose responsibility is it to develop soft skills? Should graduates, higher education or companies fill the gap? The study can be extended to other types of higher education institutions, and a qualitative research could deepen the understanding of root causes of the differences identified.

Social implications

The impact on youth employment, reduction of labor skills mismatch and improvement of managerial practices could be interesting social implications of the study.

Originality/value

While previous research has predominantly focused on higher education executives and HR managers, this paper’s contribution consists in involving young graduates in the reflection on employability.

Details

European Journal of Management and Business Economics, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2444-8494

Keywords

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