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Students’ Vocational Choices and Voluntary Action: A 12-Nation Study

  • Debbie Haski-Leventhal
  • Ram A. Cnaan
  • Femida Handy
  • Jeffrey L. Brudney
  • Kristen Holmes
  • Lesley Hustinx
  • Chulhee Kang
  • Meenaz Kassam
  • Lucas C. P. M. Meijs
  • Bhagyashree Ranade
  • Naoto Yamauchi
  • Anne Birgitta Yeung
  • Sinisa Zrinscak
Original Paper

Abstract

Previous research on student involvement suggested that business and engineering students manifest lowest rates of voluntary action. Similarly, it was thought that social science students are the most involved in voluntary action, with students of natural sciences and humanities in the middle. However, there were very few studies that empirically compared these assertions. Furthermore, these assertions were not investigated from cross-cultural perspectives. Based on a study of students in 12 countries (N = 6,570), we found that even when controlling for background variables, social science students are actually less engaged in voluntary action than other students. Engineering students are higher than expected on voluntary action while students of humanities are the most involved in voluntary action. When studying these differences in the 12 selected countries, local cultures and norms form different sets of findings that suggest that there is no universal trend in choice of academic field and voluntary action.

Keywords

Students Vocational choice Educational choice Volunteering Voluntary action Cross-cultural research 

Résumé

Une recherche déjà effectuée sur l’engagement des étudiants a montré que les étudiants en affaires et en ingénierie sont peu intéressés à travailler bénévolement. Parallèlement, il a été montré que les étudiants en sciences humaines sont le plus impliqués dans le bénévolat et que les étudiants en sciences naturelles et en lettres se situent entre les deux Cependant, on ne disposait que de très peu d’études pour comparer de telles affirmations. En outre, ces affirmations n’ont pas été examinées dans une perspective multiculturelle. En se basant sur une étude portant sur des étudiants issus de douze pays différents (N=6,570), nous avons trouvé que même en contrôlant les variables de formation, les étudiants en sciences humaines sont en fait moins engagés dans le volontariat que d'autres étudiants. Les étudiants en ingénierie sont plus impliqués dans le volontariat qu’on ne le pensait, tandis que les étudiants en lettres sont les plus impliqués dans l'action volontaire. En étudiant ces différences dans les douze pays qui ont fait l'objet d'une enquête, les cultures locales et les normes fournissent un ensemble différent de faits suggérant qu’il n’existe pas de tendance universelle quant au choix des matières académiques et l’action volontaire.

Zusammenfassung

Frühere Untersuchungen zur Studentenbeteiligung gaben zu erkennen, dass Studenten aus den Bereichen Betriebswirtschaft und Ingenieurwesen am wenigsten in ehrenamtlicher Arbeit involviert sind. Zugleich nahm man an, dass Studenten aus dem Bereich Sozialwissenschaft am ehesten ehrenamtliche Tätigkeiten übernehmen würden, gefolgt von Studenten aus den Bereichen Natur- und Geisteswissenschaften. Allerdings gab es nur sehr wenige Untersuchungen, die einen empirischen Vergleich dieser Überzeugungen vornahmen. Des Weiteren wurden diese Standpunkte nicht unter der Berücksichtigung kulturübergreifender Perspektiven untersucht. Beruhend auf einer Untersuchung von Studenten in 12 Ländern (N=6.570) kamen wir zu dem Schluss, dass selbst bei kontrollierten Hintergrundvariablen Sozialwissenschaftsstudenten tatsächlich weniger ehrenamtlich engagiert waren als andere Studenten. Studenten aus dem Bereich Ingenieurwesen sind mehr in ehrenamtlichen Tätigkeiten involviert als angenommen, und Studenten aus dem Bereich Geisteswissenschaften engagieren sich am meisten. Bei der Untersuchung dieser Unterschiede in den 12 Ländern führen die einzelnen Kulturen und Normen zu unterschiedlichen Ergebnissen, die darauf schließen lassen, dass kein allgemeiner Trend bei der Wahl des akademischen Bereichs und dem ehrenamtlichen Engagement vorliegt.

Resumen

Anteriores investigaciones sobre la participación de los universitarios indicaban que los estudiantes de empresariales y de ingeniería presentaban un porcentaje de acción voluntara menor. Igualmente, se pensaba que los estudiantes de ciencias sociales eran los más comprometidos con las acciones voluntarias, y que el centro lo ocupaban los estudiantes de ciencias naturales y humanidades. No obstante, la realidad es que muy pocos estudios han contrastado empíricamente estas afirmaciones. Es más, ni siquiera se han investigado desde una perspectiva intercultural. Basándonos en un estudio realizado en estudiantes de 12 países (N=6,570), hemos descubierto que incluso cuando se comparan las variables de educación, los estudiantes de ciencias sociales participan incluso menos en trabajos de voluntariado que otros estudiantes. Los estudiantes de ingeniería participan más como voluntarios de lo que se esperaba mientras que los de humanidades son los más comprometidos en la acción voluntaria. Si examinamos estas diferencias en los 12 países estudiados, vemos que las culturas y las normas locales conforman un conjunto de resultados diferente que sugieren que no hay una tendencia universal que relacione la carrera universitaria con el trabajo voluntario.

摘要

此前有关大学生的研究表明商科和工科的学生中表达愿意从事志愿服务的比例最低?类似的,一般认为社会科学的学生在志愿活动中是最积极的,自然科学和人文学的学生其次?然而,很少有研究从经验上比较这些结论?此外,这些结论并不是从跨文化的视角出发而研究得到的?根据一项针对12国大学生(6570人)的调查研究,我们发现即使考虑到背景各不相同,社会科学的学生实际上比其他学生更少参与到志愿活动中?工科学生志愿活动的参与度高于预期,而人文学的学生参与志愿活动最多?在研究12国的差异时,各地文化和风俗造成了不同的结论——在学术领域和志愿活动的选择上没有普遍趋势?

要約

先行研究においては、商学および工学専攻の学生はボランティア活動に最も消極的であることがわかった。社会科学専攻の学生はボランティア活動に最も積極的で、自然科学および人文科学専攻の学生は平均的な数値を示した。しかしながら、この経験的な検証の比較研究はわずかしか行われていない。その上、検証は異文化間の見解からも調査されていない。12ケ国(N=6,570)における学生の研究では、バックグラウンド変数を制御し、社会科学専攻の学生は事実、他の学部の学生よりもボランティア活動に関与しないことがわかっている。 工学部の学生は予想に反してボランティア活動に参加しているが、人文科学を専攻している学生はボランティア活動に最も参加している。これらの相違を12ケ国で研究した際、地域文化と標準値は、学部やボランティア活動参加においては普遍的な傾向を示さないことが調査結果より明らかになった。

ملخص

الأبحاث السابقه في مشاركه الطلاب توحي أن طلاب التجاره والهندسه يظهرون أدنى معدلات العمل التطوعي . و بالمثل ٬ هناك فكره بأن طلاب العلوم الإجتماعيه أكثر مشاركه في العمل التطوعي ٬ طلاب العلوم الطبيعيه و الإنسانيه معتدلون .على الرغم ٬ من أن هناك دراسات قليله التي تقارن تجريبيا? هذه المزاعم .علاوه على ذلك ٬ هذه المزاعم لم يتم التأكد من صحتها من منظورات ثقافيه مختلفه . إستنادا? على دراسه من 12 بلد ( ن = 6570 ) ٬ وجدنا إننا عندما نسيطر تماما?على متغيرات الخلفيه ٬ طلاب العلوم الإجتماعيه في الواقع أقل مشاركه في العمل التطوعي من الطلاب الآخرين. طلاب الهندسه أكثر من المتوقع في العمل التطوعي . في حين أن طلاب الدراسات الإنسانيه هم الأكثر مشاركه في العمل التطوعي .عند دراسه هذه الإختلافات في 12 بلد التي تم دراستها ٬ الثقافات المحليه والمعايير من مجموعه مختلفه من النتائج تشير إلى أن ليس هناك إتجاه عالمي في إختيار الميدان الأكاديمي و العمل التطوعي .

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank three anonymous reviewers of Voluntas for their insightful and helpful comments.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Debbie Haski-Leventhal
    • 1
  • Ram A. Cnaan
    • 2
  • Femida Handy
    • 2
  • Jeffrey L. Brudney
    • 3
  • Kristen Holmes
    • 4
  • Lesley Hustinx
    • 5
  • Chulhee Kang
    • 6
  • Meenaz Kassam
    • 7
  • Lucas C. P. M. Meijs
    • 8
  • Bhagyashree Ranade
    • 9
  • Naoto Yamauchi
    • 10
  • Anne Birgitta Yeung
    • 11
  • Sinisa Zrinscak
    • 12
  1. 1.The Paul Baerwald School of Social WorkThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Cleveland State UniversityClevelandUSA
  4. 4.University of SurreyGuildfordUK
  5. 5.Catholic University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  6. 6.Yonsei UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  7. 7.American University of SharjahSharjahUnited Arab Emirates
  8. 8.Erasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands
  9. 9.Marketing & Market Research ConsultantsPuneIndia
  10. 10.Osaka UniversityOsakaJapan
  11. 11.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  12. 12.University of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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