Contextual Analysis Of The Professional-Value Orientations Of University Graduates In Management

Abstract

The value foundations of an individual personality determine largely the future direction of the development of the individual and society as a whole. Changes in the traditional characteristics of society affect the focus of its members and are manifested in their actions and relationships. In the context of the digitalization of the economy, Russian society needs a transformation of the Russian educational environment, which sets the development vector. According to the authors, value self-determination in a university, the transformation of the system of value orientations for the successful implementation of future professional activities, are important parts of the transformation of the educational system. The authors identified the problems of students' value-based self-determination in a university, highlighting the role of the educational system of universities as an object and subject of management using the induction method in generalizing descriptive, abstract-analytical and statistical forms. The article analyzes the current situation in the educational environment on the basis of a study of the value orientations of full-time and part-time students, representatives of generations X, Y and Z, in the managerial direction in order to understand the significance and characteristics of values in the context of future professional activity. It is proposed to transform the values and activities of university students through the use of problematization and reflection tools in the framework of traditional and modern educational technologies.

Keywords: Context of activityprofessional-value orientationstransformation

Introduction

The implementation of the concept of the knowledge economy leads to the need to transform the productive forces of society, which are the central link in the system of socio-economic processes. Self-organization of a person and improving the quality of life in modern conditions are directly related to the possibilities of digitalization of the economy. As studies show, many internal socio-economic problems must be resolved to achieve this, among which are the features in the culture, values, customs of society, its expectations, preferences and relationships.

In this regard, the relevance of the education system to the level of technological development is of particular importance. A new type of students, ready to form their educational trajectory independently, where self-education, self-actualization, and self-development are important aspects, i.e. a combination of training options, work and personal development in a modern interpretation is being formed. Using an alternative emotional-instinctive approach, which is based on values and expectations, it can be argued that human behavior is controlled not only by subconscious impulses and emotions, but also by conscious and rational reasons.

A significant theoretical contribution to the study of value orientations was made by the works of foreign scientists (Arnett, 2014; Papazova & Garvanova, 2008; Rokeach, 1972; Schwartz, 2007) and domestic scientists (Bibik, 2015; Kosintseva et al., 2017; Russkikh, 2018; Yadov, 2007) and others. Studies of value orientations in Russian science are quite extensive, but they mainly concern groups of children and adolescents, and only to a small extent - university students.

The theory of generations of Howe and Strauss (1991) in the study of characteristic features and behavioral models in Russian science was developed in the works of Miroshkina (2017), Golubinskaya (2016), etc.

The transformation of the values and activities of university students is possible through the process of parallel transformation of activities and values through the tools of problematization and reflection, i.e. use of modern technologies of project training, case technologies, business and role-playing games. All this sets a more powerful impetus for the development of the economy and society. Studying at a university should contribute to self-determination and motivation of a student in setting priorities that govern professional development.

Problem Statement

The successful implementation of future professional activities largely depends on an understanding of what is really important for a person and what they really want to achieve, what point they see in this. Value orientations are the basis of the meaning-forming motives of a person, which determine the vector of their further development and adaptation in the existing conditions of modern society and economics. Values are not opinions, but beliefs that drive action. Value orientations, as the most important component of the personality structure, determine behavior and attitude to the world through goals, ideals, beliefs and interests (Yadov, 2007).

The concept of “value orientation” is usually used when assigning values to a motivational-need sphere (that is, directly related to the regulation of social behavior), and personal values are considered to a greater extent when they are assigned to the semantic sphere of a person. But in any case, developed value orientations determine the maturity of a person.

The internalization of thesaurus meanings in the fields of education, communication, as well as the accumulation of personal experience, determine individual consciousness and the ability to act competently.

Our attention is attracted precisely by the development of value orientations, as a product of education and purposeful formation, of the ideological influence of society on the individual. And one of the main factors that have a strong influence on this process is the university as an active element of socialization.

Research Questions

Generations have a common historical context, but social conditions, ages, and beliefs determine the different behavioral patterns of each generation.

Value orientations of students as the most important education in the structure and orientation of the personality determine the attitude to the objects of the social environment and professional development.

The value orientations of students are transformed in the context of further labor activity, considering the characteristics of the behavioral model of generation.

The functional and pedagogical goal of influence from the university is to organize the activities of students and listeners aimed at self-knowledge and self-esteem of their value system in relation to that professional value system that expresses the basic qualities of the future desired by society.

The possibility of transforming the value orientations of students in their professional training depends largely on how much the values of the university coincide with the priorities of professional development in modern conditions of digitalization of the economy.

Purpose of the Study

The main goal of our study is to analyze changes in the hierarchy of values and their characteristics among students of younger and older age groups, representatives of generations X, Y and Z in the context of professional activity and their transformation in the educational process.

The study involved 176 people - 1st and 4th year students of full-time and part-time forms of training in the Novgorod branch of the RANEPA with managerial specialties with a time period of 12 years.

The studies conducted by the authors made it possible to compare the ranked series of value orientations among different generations and track their characteristics among representatives of the same generation - Y at different time periods.

The results can be used in the process of transforming the organizational culture of the university, as well as in the training program in management and employers in hiring employees and shaping the personnel policy of the organization as a whole.

Research Methods

The use of methods of comparison, induction in a generalizing descriptive, abstract-analytical and statistical forms allow determining the features of students' value-based self-determination, highlighting the role of the educational system and society, as an object and subject of management.

An adapted questionnaire “Value orientations in choosing a job” was used as a basis for researching preferences in value orientations for professional self-determination (Kibanov, 2008).

The questionnaire includes 16 proposals, the ranking of which is carried out according to the method of pair wise comparisons.

The sample of proposals was evaluated only by ranks 1, 2, 3 to determine the most important preferences of the respondents, and each of them was assigned the corresponding weight coefficient to determine the weighted average assessment of the results of ranking of value orientations. The results of the ranking of value orientations for different age groups were processed in tabular and graphical forms.

The results obtained were compared for different age categories, which allow identifying possible differences associated with changes in the traditional characteristics of society that affect the focus of its members and the so-called generations X, Y and Z. We use a more illustrative graphic form of data presentation for conducting comparative analysis.

In this case, we talk about generations X, Y and Z in terms of their characteristic features, explained by the time period of birth. According to the theory of generations of W. Strauss and N. Howe (Howe, & Strauss, 1991), generations replace each other every 20 years. “Generations” are represented by a set of people of a certain age group who demonstrate a special sustainable set of beliefs or relationships, values and behaviors, because they grew up in the same historical conditions. Thus, the following generations were identified: baby boomers born in 1943-1960; generation X or 13th generation born in 1961-1981; generation Y or the millennium generation born in 1982-2004; generation Z or generation of the motherland born in 2005-2024. These time periods are distinguished by researchers in Anglo-American history (Golubinskaya, 2016). It is necessary to clarify that there are no unambiguous and strict boundaries separating one generation from another. Despite the fact that there are fundamental phenomena and events that affect the lives of people in different countries and on the planet as a whole, the main provisions of the Strauss-Hove theory needed to be adapted to the Russian conditions of historical development. In particular, a number of authors (Golubinskaya, 2016; Miroshkina, 2017; Smakotina, & Kornienko, 2016) describe the time boundaries of age generations in Russia as follows: baby boomers - 1943-1963; Generation X - 1963-1984; Generation Y - 1984-2000; Generation Z since 2000. In our opinion, the following scale is more accurate, from the point of view of historical periods that affect the specifics of upbringing, and later on the behavior of people: baby boomers, born in 1946-1964; Generation X, born in 1965-1979; Millennials (or Generation Y), born in 1980-1994; Generation Z born in 1995-2012.

In accordance with this option 3 age groups were identified within the framework of the study: generations X, Y and Z. Generation X included respondents - graduates - correspondence students of 2007 (average age at the time of the study 25-35 years) and group of retraining students who graduated in 2019 (average age at the time of the study 43-45 years), i.e. born in 1965-1979. Generation Y is represented by graduates - full-time students of 2017, 2018, 2019 (average age at the time of the study 21-22 years) and 1st year students of 2007. Generation Z included first-year students of 2019 (the average age at the time of the study was 17-18 years old).

It should be noted that the 0th ranks obtained characterize the lack of priority choices among respondents and results are excluded from the ranked series of respondents' value orientations in the comparative analysis of the survey.

Findings

On the example of respondents of the younger age group, which belongs to generation Y (Figure 01 ), one can see the peculiarities of students' value orientations when choosing a further job. For the representatives graduating in 2019, the values associated with the future became the leading values: career, provision in old age, decent housing and good earnings. At the same time, the need for security is quite pronounced (the presence of favorable sanitary conditions at a reliable workplace - 5th and 6th positions, respectively). According to the researchers, another feature of this group was the individuality, self-realization and ambitiousness of the personality, which in our case is confirmed by the ranking positions of 4th, 5th, 7th of the following value orientations: the ability to receive, to feel public recognition for one's labor achievements; improvement of professional skills; the most complete use of abilities and skills. Power and influence, matching interests at and outside work, communication with interesting, erudite colleagues follow next.

Figure 1: Ranked series of value orientations of respondents - 4th year students 2007, 2019
Ranked series of value orientations of respondents - 4th year students 2007, 2019
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The graduates of 2007 are also interested in a career, but the desire for power and the ability to make independent decisions is much stronger (by 7 positions), against this background, the "desire to improve professional skills" (3rd place, 2 positions higher) and as a result "the most complete use of abilities and skills” and “the need to receive, to feel public recognition for their labor achievements” (6th place in the rating). At the same time, safety-oriented values are also strong (4th place).

A favorable sociopsychological climate, in terms of significance, occupies a middle position in both studied groups, i.e. important but not quite. Analysis of the value orientations of 4th year students in 2007 and 2019 shows that the priority of career advancement remains, but changes are noticeable, so the desire for power and influence (the right to make decisions) of 2019 graduates becomes less significant. A more thorough analysis of the value orientations of the representatives of generation Y (2017, 2018, 2019) for three consecutive years confirmed a clear orientation to the future ensuring their position in old age, a reliable job, an interest in solving housing problems, as well as good earnings and the opportunity to build a career (Table 01 ).

Table 1 -
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It should be noted that the priorities of stability and security in the form of “quiet work with a clearly defined range of responsibilities” and “good provision in old age” are also present, but in fourth place (Figure 02 ), and the high level of wages takes only 8th place. In this case, it is hardly necessary to talk about the disinterest of the generation in the level of material well-being. A comparison of the early Ys (2007) with the early Zs (2019) even more sharply demonstrates the difference in the main priority when choosing a further job: career and a reliable job, respectively. At the same time, when talking about career - the difference makes 3 ranking positions, and the statement “have a reliable job” - 9.

Figure 2: Value orientations of respondents of the age groups of 2007, 2017, 2018, 2019 of generations Y and Z
Value orientations of respondents of the age groups of 2007, 2017, 2018, 2019 of generations Y and Z
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Comparing 2019-Z with other representatives of generation Y, it should be noted that this group of respondents, as a representative of another generation, also demonstrates a strong need for security (a reliable workplace - 1st place, good provision in old age - 2nd place), but power and influence (the right to make decisions) take third place, which was clearly not a priority in the general list for previous groups (9th and 11th positions).

Another age group, by the example of which it was possible to see the ongoing transformations of values and activities, was group X. A feature of this group of respondents is the fact that these are extra-mural students and people who consciously receive a second higher education. The results of the ranking of value orientations among students in 2007 (extra-mural students, 6 year course) and 2019 (retraining program) are presented in Figure 03 .

Figure 3: Value orientations of respondents in the age group of the generation X
Value orientations of respondents in the age group of the generation X
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Both groups of the older age category - 2007, 2019 belong to generation X. They are characterized by the following positions (4,10,14): readiness for change, relying only on their own forces and their own experience. Generation X are pronounced individuals who highly value the possibility of choice and the possibility of their own self-realization.

In our case, analyzing the data presented, we can conclude that there is a significant change in the priorities of value orientations among older respondents with life and professional experience. So, good support in old age in the foreground for the 2007 respondents, the 2nd place is occupied by the promotion, and the 3rd is by receiving vacation at a convenient time, i.e. career-based stability and socio-psychological well-being. This group is characterized by a desire for stability, certainty, which is traditional for a society of the beginning of the 21st century, characterized by inertia, the desire to achieve an acceptable position while avoiding changes considered as a threat.

For the respondents of the senior group in 2019, the 1st place is the opportunity to earn money, in the 2nd place there is power and influence (the right to make decisions), and in the 3rd place there is promotion, i.e. material well-being on the basis of career growth and responsibility - the ability to make decisions, but with an average degree of participation in production management and public processes.

Given the fact that the respondents in this study were the students of managerial training areas, it is advisable to compare the resulting picture of their value orientations with the values that are in demand in the framework of future or current professional activity, taking into account current trends in the development of the economy and society. Value orientations have a decisive influence on the implementation of human behavior and activity standards, thus, knowing these landmarks, one can predict the attitude of a specialist to the surrounding reality, people, situations. Speaking of leaders, officials and HR-specialists, this issue becomes especially relevant. If these specialists do not have certain value vectors, then they are unlikely to be able to effectively manage other employees in the organization.

The specificity of managerial activity is manifested primarily in such aspects as: multitasking mental, creative activity, the result of which is the adoption of managerial decisions; constant interaction with people in various formats to achieve a variety of goals. Thus, in our opinion, such values as demanded from the point of view of successful professional activity are the following: work in a friendly, close-knit team; improving professional skills; the most complete use of abilities and skills; receiving a sense of public recognition for labor achievements; active participation in production management; power and influence (the right to make decisions).

In the context of managerial activities, value orientations 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, which determine the desire to work in a friendly, close-knit team, improve professional skills, make the most of the abilities and skills, receive and feel public recognition for the leadership, labor achievements and actively participate in production management, and also have power and influence (the right to make decisions) are relevant for the leader. The priorities are the aspirations to work in a friendly, close-knit team for the 2007-X generation and the desire for professional development for the 2007-Y generation among these values, and the generations 2019 - X, 2007 -Y and and 2019 - Z have the desire to have power and influence (2 and 3 positions in the ranked row). Value orientations 7, 8, 9 occupy a position no higher than the 4th position in the ranked series and, accordingly, are of interest for their transformation in the educational process of the university when using methods of practice-oriented management training (Myasnikova, Plastinin, Preobrazhensky, Abramova, & Ratkovskaya, 2018).

According to the results of the study, we can say that the desire for a stable position prevails in certain conditions with the possibility of career advancement, but without a vivid desire for entrepreneurship and professional development in the context of future professional activity in the context of digitalization of the economy.

The transformation of students' values and activities is possible through a process of parallel transformation of activities and values based on problematization and reflection. For this purpose, the used methods of value reflection and, above all, conversations, discussions, as well as practical methods: case technologies, business and role-playing games, allow organizing reflective activities. In order to develop an active attitude towards professional development in the context of future professional activity, the method of specific situations has been recognized and widely used that fits well into group pedagogical technology focused on specific actions and behavioral processes, which guarantees the result of practical training. Business and role-playing games can effectively influence the attitudes of participants and their ability to successfully cope with difficult situations in the framework of professional activities (Myasnikova et al., 2018).

The younger Y generation group has a more flexible value system that defines the desire for stability, comfort, without activity and initiative. Despite the significant difference in age, it can be stated that the same values are priority for graduates of academy of the Generation Y; first of all, this is a career and good provision in old age. It should be remembered that the bulk of the values of this age generation was formed in the period until 2014. It is generation Y that is most often called the generation of “millennials”, which are characterized by rapid consumption and a desire to quickly achieve set results, the long process of work is an alien phenomenon for them, this is the generation for which immediate reward comes to the fore. In our case, the picture is somewhat different - the leading position is career, but the other priorities do not fit into a typical portrait of a representative of the millennium.

The results obtained allow us to speak of a strong instinct for self-preservation and career ambitions, which the respondents associate with material security and stability. At the same time, they consider professional growth the basis for such advancement.

Comparing the target orientations of the Ys in 2007 and 2017-2019 was interesting from the point of view of assessing the dynamics within one generation. Thus, it became possible to track changes in priorities among those respondents who were born at the dawn of this generation and at its decline. If the former had an active formation of value guidelines in the “wild 90s”, the latter had a period of strengthening statehood and stabilizing social processes. Group 2007-Y is characterized by priority attention to career development issues. At the same time, career opportunities are clearly associated with access to power, and as a result, influence. In turn, representatives of this group see the path to these goals in professional excellence. A feature of generation Y is a weak desire for professional development, self-realization and active participation in management, i.e. some inertia, without initiative and responsibility.

We assume that generation Z will repeat the nature and behavior of the “silent generation”, taking into account the specifics of its time, which are already manifested in protection from environmental interference in virtual reality, in avoiding the realities of life and directly affecting it. A distinctive feature is the high rank of the “power and influence” value in this group of respondents. This is what allows making a clear distinction between the generations of the “silent” and “silent, but active”. This happened as a result of those social processes and phenomena that accompanied the formation of the value system of this generation.

It is worth noting that the values of professional development and self-realization are less priority with the senior groups of 2007 and 2019 (generation X), and the values of collective interaction - cohesion are weaker in the group of respondents in 2019, more individualism is manifested, which is explained by the presence of significant experience in managerial activity and can be considered as individual responsibility for decisions made. According to the 2007 study, the older generation X generation group is characterized by a desire for stability, certainty, which is traditional for a society of that period characterized by inertia and a desire to achieve an acceptable position while avoiding changes considered as a threat. The issue of salary does not have independent priority value, since, first of all, it is a consequence of the situation in society and possible access to power.

According to the study, the desire to make the most full use of abilities and skills, to receive, to feel public recognition for the labor achievements and to actively participate in production management is significant, which means they become relevant for their transformation in training in the context of managerial activity.

Conclusion

A comparative analysis of the obtained results allowed answering the question posed at the beginning of our study: what are the features of the value orientations of students and students by generations X, Y, Z, and, accordingly, what is the need and possibility of transformation of values within the educational process of the university.

The trajectory of the university’s development in modern conditions is a movement towards managing self-development, towards a target model - academic confederation (autonomy). An important part of this movement is the organizational culture of the university, identified by its values and providing both resistance and reinforcement. The possibility of transforming students' value orientations in their professional training largely depends on how much the university’s values coincide with the priorities of professional development in the context of the digitalization of the economy (Myasnikova et al., 2018).

The transformation of organizational culture is necessary to overcome the inertia and fragmentation of the subjects of educational activity. The path of transformation is the formation of corporate values that affect the existing mentality and determine the interest in achieving individual goals and corporate goals of the university.

The dissonance between the formed system of values and the demanded vectors of professional activity forces us to change the organization of students' value reflection in the learning process. The functional and pedagogical goal of influence from the university, or rather interaction, is to organize the activities of students and listeners aimed at self-knowledge and self-assessment of their value system in relation to that professional value system that expresses the basic qualities of the future desired by society. It is these dominants that must determine the direction of behavior, target motivation, as well as the level of claims in the modern world.

Reforming the educational system, taking into account professional - value orientations of students, will make it possible to bring their capabilities closer to modern needs and create conditions for harmonization and self-realization of graduates.

Active forms of conducting classes encourage students to initiate the acquisition of knowledge, independent search and solution of identified problems.

Preparing a student for analysis and discussion of a specific situation begins with an individual analysis of this situation with further analysis in a small group and discussion in the audience with the teacher. Working with a specific situation requires serious preliminary theoretical training and the ability to listen and respond to what is said during the analysis. The method of specific situations fits well into group pedagogical technology, which guarantees the result of training. New trends, new challenges require not only a quick response and adaptation of the education system, but also to predict further development, the emergence of new industries, professions that require the development of new approaches and new teaching methods and technologies.

In modern conditions, the educational process is aimed not so much at the transfer of knowledge, but at the development of skills and abilities, the formation of a certain attitude to activities and real behavior.

References

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Publication Date

26 August 2020

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978-1-80296-086-0

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Educational strategies, educational policy, teacher training, moral purpose of education, social purpose of education

Cite this article as:

Myasnikova, S. V., & Ratkovskaya, I. A. (2020). Contextual Analysis Of The Professional-Value Orientations Of University Graduates In Management. In & S. Alexander Glebovich (Ed.), Pedagogical Education - History, Present Time, Perspectives, vol 87. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 608-618). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.08.02.80