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The effect of gender and social class on work values: Mediated by person and thing orientation
Kath, LisaWiegand, Justin
First-year college students enter higher education with certain values that are shaped by their identity and environment. These values can guide students’ long-term career choices and what they find rewarding in their work. Work values can be influenced by several aspects of one’s life, including personality, family background, social class, and gender. Additionally, individuals vary in the extent to which they orient themselves toward things in their physical environment and people in their social environment, also known as person- and thing-orientations. Individuals’ work values may also be shaped by one’s orientation towards people or things. The present study examined how gender differences and social class influenced students’ work values. This study also examined person- and thing-orientations as potential mediators and tested an interaction effect between gender and social class. An archival dataset of 243 undergraduate STEM students surveyed online at a large university in Southern California during their first semester of study was used to examine the hypotheses. Hypotheses were tested using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). The present study tested person- and thing-orientations mediation analyses on the three dependent variables individually within SPSS using a macro program called PROCESS, which allows users to test for indirect effects using a regression framework. Some of the gender hypotheses were statistically supported, but none of the hypotheses related to social class were supported. Gender was a stronger predictor than social class for work values and person- and thing-orientations mostly mediated the relationship between gender and work values and not social class and work values. None of the interaction effects tested between gender and social class were significant either. Overall, this study provided valuable insight into the role that gender, social class, and person- and thing-orientations play in determining which work values are important to students as they develop through college and enter the workforce. The present study can inform teachers and mentors about how students specifically can be supported throughout their schooling so that they feel prepared to find and succeed in a workplace whose values match their own regardless of their social identities or backgrounds.
San Diego State University
Master of Science (M.S.) San Diego State University, 2021
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