University of Leicester
2015basstdsocsci.pdf (3.36 MB)

To what extent does Higher Education teaching support the development of undergraduate business students’ values?

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posted on 2015-04-15, 10:39 authored by Tina Bass
This study focused upon the values that undergraduates take into work and to what extent Higher Education can impact upon these. Empirical evidence, where it existed previously, has tended to be drawn from postgraduate students, leaving the experiences of the majority of business students under-researched and often discussed as a generic group. Undergraduate business students’ experiences were examined but with a clear disaggregation by subject area and course in order to develop understanding of how development might be supported in different contexts. Clear gaps were highlighted between espoused student values and engagement with (CSR)/ethics compared to what has been identified in the literature as desirable. Gaps were also identified between what students stated that they want from their syllabus and what they had been taught. Evidence was clear that undergraduates do not enter university with all of their ethical perceptions and values firmly fixed and it was also evident that subject-specific teaching contributes to how ethical dilemmas are framed and managed by students. Work experience was also found to impact negatively upon undergraduate values. The study contributes to understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) theory by building upon discussion in the existing literature and presenting the theoretical landscape through a series of diagrams. Additionally, there is development of a tool which enables curriculum data to be analysed for both CSR content and the higher-level language needed if students are to engage with dilemmas and deal effectively with complexity. There was evidence of some support overall for the development of business students’ values but also evidence that much more could be done to enhance the curriculum.



James, Nalita; Hammer, Nikolaus

Date of award


Author affiliation

Centre for Labour Market Studies

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DSocSci



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