Undergraduate student expectations of role requirements and pedagogic relationships in a business school: a psychological contract approach

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Ongoing research has identified a potential disconnect in academic and pedagogic expectation between academic staff and students. At the same time a context of higher tuition fees and changing student expectations renders this relationship even more important to the success of higher education institutions. This research investigated the sources of student expectations for the pedagogic relationship, the alignment between staff and student expectations and the potential impact of expectation fulfilment and frustration on the student experience. The study used the Psychological Contract as a theoretical framework, responding to recent calls for the further use of psychological contracts in education. The author has taught business in both secondary and university contexts for a number of years. This experience informed the phenomenological positioning of the thesis, its focus, its location in a large post -’92 business school, its mixed methods and an analytical method (template analysis) which has enabled both anticipated and emergent themes to be explored. Data was collected from a sample of students at regular intervals throughout their first year of study and from staff. Both exploratory statistical analysis of survey data and template analysis of interviews suggested that staff and students’ initial expectations broadly concur. However the practical implications of such notions as ‘independent learning’ develop significantly over the first year and it is contended that pre-entry expectations are significantly influenced by students’ experience of the pedagogic relationship at tertiary education level. The initial pedagogic psychological contract changes significantly over the first year as post entry experiences (or the ‘reality shock’) reshapes and reconfigures their expectations. The research developed a series of recommendations to both secondary schools and universities to improve the management of expectations.
Original languageEnglish
  • Beadle, Ron, Supervisor
  • Crumbley, Julie, Supervisor
  • Lillystone, Simon, Supervisor
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Apr 2016


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