Asian Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 73–99 | Cite as

Developing civic-mindedness in undergraduate business students through service-learning projects for civic engagement and service leadership practices for civic improvement

  • Robin Stanley Snell
  • Maureen Yin Lee Chan
  • Carol Hok Ka Ma
  • Carman Ka Man Chan
Special Issue Paper


Projects that challenge students to practice service leadership for civic improvement can address the aim of developing civic-mindedness in undergraduates. We conducted two qualitative studies. First, we investigated the learning experiences of four teams of undergraduate business students, who undertook semester-long course-embedded service-learning projects in partnership with four Hong Kong-based social enterprises. The students described five modes of civic engagement as project purposes, mentioned applying six types of service leadership practice for civic improvement, and described eight types of developmental outcome within the domain of civic-mindedness. Comparisons suggested that besides relational support through training and guidance, empowering infrastructure, opportunities to exercise autonomy, and opportunities to demonstrate competence, three project-related features that varied between projects were important in fostering civic-mindedness. These were direct contact with grassroots-based beneficiaries; the experience of making a tangible difference; and linking the campus with the wider community. A second qualitative study indicated that course-embedded team projects with these features that were undertaken in mixed teams that included freshman and senior year business students fostered civic-mindedness for both categories of student.


Service-learning Service leadership Civic engagement Civic-mindedness Self-determination theory Intergroup contact theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Stanley Snell
    • 1
  • Maureen Yin Lee Chan
    • 1
  • Carol Hok Ka Ma
    • 2
  • Carman Ka Man Chan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ManagementLingnan UniversityTuen MunHong Kong
  2. 2.Office of Service LearningLingnan UniversityTuen MunHong Kong

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