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Influence of spirituality on student career choice and strategy

English Abstract

Executive Summary "Spirituality in workplace is an emerging but important field in today's business world. It is about people seeing their work as a spiritual path, as an opportunity to grow personally and to contribute to society in a meaningful way." (Lussier & Achua, 2004, p.463) Both academic and industrial field are trying to prove its effectiveness. But how could we feel and measure something as abstract as spirituality in workplace? In one study that investigated the effect of spirituality on career behavior, spirituality was found to inspire four purposes of "developing and becoming self', "unity with others", "expressing self', and "serving others". Spirituality was also found to influence an ongoing process of sense-making through discovering, prioritizing and balancing the four purposes over a lifespan (Lips-Wiersma, 2002) However the research only provided one lens through which to investigate the subjective influences on the ongoing process of career transition, further research could be done from other perspective. As a response, an empirical study was conducted to investigate the influence of spirituality on student career choice and strategy, at the beginning of graduate's professional life. A sample of respondents was drawn from one university in Mainland China. The transition of Chinese society and economy from the grip of communism-socialism to free-market capitalism provides an interesting backdrop against which to examine young undergraduates' belief systems and their impact on their career choices. They were surveyed for information about themselves, their personal values, job values and possible career choice. Correlations between some variables were run to interpret the underlying relationships between them. The results suggest that: gender is related to respondents' personal values; established ideologies are not related to respondents' personal values. To some degree, respondents' personal values are related to their job values, which in turn related to their career choice in terms of preferred type of employing organization and preferred type of job. The conclusion drawn on this research is that there is some influence of spirituality, defined in the non-religious sense, on Chinese student career choice. But, the influence is very weak, due perhaps to several reasons. The first important reason is that, Chinese youths today seem to have no specific philosophy or religious belief systems that guide their career choice. The second one is the larger business environment of Chinese organizations is intensely competitive, with many young job-seekers threatened with unemployment, so that while it offers fresh graduates a multitude of choices, it also dictates a pragmatic rather than ideological approach to job-seeking. And also, as prospective university graduates, the subjects may regard 'experience" as their first objective and give little thought to what career they would really like to have.

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Zhang, Huan


Faculty of Business Administration


Department of Management and Marketing




Career development -- China

College students -- Employment -- China


Cheng, Soo May

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