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Reconceptualising at the higher education employability - enterprise interface; proposal and validation of the ‘AGILE’ mind-set tool

Reconceptualising at the higher education employability - enterprise interface; proposal and validation of the ‘AGILE’ mind-set tool
Reconceptualising at the higher education employability - enterprise interface; proposal and validation of the ‘AGILE’ mind-set tool
Key words: Employability, Enterprise Education, Learning, Agile, Reflection, Narrative, MindsetIntroduction The relevance of current measures of employability and entrepreneurial (E&E) outcomes of a course of Higher Education (HE) study are highly debated (Rae, 2007; Rae, 2017; Scott, Penaluna & Thompson, 2016). Given such current metrics are often reliant upon statistics at predominately general, cohort level, taken at a one-off cross-section point (e.g. DLHE); are they fit for evaluating the longer term E&E gains from a University experience (Holmes, 2013a, 2013b)? HE stakeholders continue to discuss whether attempting to perform against exit performance metrics, engenders positive or negative responses (Knibbs, 2015). Educators and employers increasingly argue that E&E outcomes should not focus heavily on hard skills, but a broader range of behavioural, attitudinal and mindset changes (Fletcher-Brown, Knibbs & Middleton, 2015), claiming these provide more sophisticated bases for exploring the longitudinal value of the HE experience for graduates (Pickernell, Packham, Jones, Miller & Thomas, 2011). Importantly, this paper asks is there value in individual students contributing contextualised insight, in the form of their own E&E development narrative? Qualitative and quantitative data gathered from approximately 300 Undergraduate students at a UK business school, compares findings from those studying Marketing with others taking an enterprise module. Each respondent used the ‘AGILE’ reflection tool and their responses are evaluated to investigate correlations between gender, domicile, subject studied and exposure to enterprise education, as variables, affecting E&E development. The aim is to further discussion relevant to all HE stakeholders, regarding E&E outcome measures.Relevant background information“Higher education (HE) stakeholders are increasingly driven to achieve against a range of metrics including student satisfaction, employment levels on exit (HESA, 2016), research generation, knowledge transfer income and teaching excellence. Employability metrics are publicly available data and as such may have an effect on higher education institution (HEI) reputations, retention rates and course demand (Quintini and Pouliakas, 2014; Caza, Brower and Wayne, 2015; Kakouris, 2015). [Yet], scrutiny and focus on achieving against these metrics can create responses and activities which may, ironically, be contradictory or unhelpful towards achieving intended objectives (Holmes, 2013a)”, Clinkard, (2018, p375).Through critical reviews of pertinent literature and models, the author’s previously published work (Clinkard, 2018; Fletcher-Brown et al, 2015; Knibbs, 2015), explored the link between enterprise education input and employability outcomes, and debated the effectiveness of HE first destination metrics at capturing E&E outcomes of the HE experience. These culminated in the proposal of the “employaGility” concept and subsequent AGILE self-reflection tool, where students are encouraged to create a reflective narrative of their E&E related development against: Adaptable, Gatherer, Identity Awareness, Life-Long Learning and Enterprising capabilities. This work suggested that use of the AGILE model could “offer a student-generated glossary of terms which could be used to help them develop a narrative of E&E gains, which could enhance how they portray themselves for employers or as self-employed professionals” (Clinkard, 2018, p387) and recommended that empirical research be conducted. Hence, it has been adapted for a cloud capturing format (via Google forms), which enables students to populate their own record; see what other students have written and, critically, staff (with permission); can collate and compare the language and terms used in entries, generating a ‘semantic glossary’ of terms, as a basis for thematic analysis research. This ‘glossary’ could further be used to ensure definitions of employability and enterprise are described in student-friendly terms. By encouraging students to revisit this record over time (for example, each academic year, as part of personal and professional development discussions), students can reflect on achievements against each dimension and identify gaps for improvement not just at one point, but for as long as they wish, even after their time in HE (Clinkard, 2018).This paper reports after AGILE has been implemented as a teaching and learning device with cohorts of business school undergraduates over the past two academic years, which has generated a bank of associated primary data. It is hoped that quantitative and qualitative analysis of student responses will enable evaluation of how effectively it was explained, understood and utilised, as well as what value it may have for improving student E&E outcomes, or how these could be measured at the individual level.Research approachThe AGILE self-reflection tool is explained to first year and second year undergraduates (including a control group who do not have any explicit enterprise education) as part of their HE course, with student responses being collected via an online Google form survey. Mixed methods response data were collected into spreadsheets and transferred into SPSS, where appropriate analysis tests are applied. Qualitative expressions of E&E development submitted as self-reflective narrative responses will be correlated against gender, domicile, subject studied and employability outcome variables, in order to evaluate the potential value of the AGILE tool.AimsAnalysis and conclusions from the primary data intend to indicate:•Differences between terms used by student narratives to explain their E&E development and those used in academia to promote related learning•Differences of E&E development between students based on gender, domicile, subject studied, exposure to enterprise education and their E&E outcomes•Weaknesses in existing methods for measuring E&E benefits and outcomesConclusions/implications“Graduates need to be aware of, and able to reflect on, how changes in the employment, working and start-up landscape are likely to affect their exit trajectory and alter their approach accordingly (Leibowitz, Ndebele, and Winberg, 2014). This involves switching jobs, employers and career paths several times (Marginson, 2014), which is not currently effectively tracked through cross-sectional exit destination data (HESA, 2016); Geneva ILO, 2017)”, Clinkard (2018, p381).This paper aims to identify areas for improvement in attempts to measure E&E outcomes at the individual level, which could be adopted by any HE stakeholder (including staff in careers and entrepreneurial services, teachers, programme leaders, students, employers and policy makers). Importantly, it is hoped that GRSME Consortium attendees perceive valuable insights for enhancing curricula, through identification of tangible benefits to students, from adopting AGILE mindset development teaching and tools.
Enterprise, employability, Agile, mindset, SELF-EFFICACY, Higher education, entrepreneurial marketing
1-2
Clinkard, Karen
b8833b53-4684-49cc-b095-dc29c0523396
Clinkard, Karen
b8833b53-4684-49cc-b095-dc29c0523396

Clinkard, Karen (2019) Reconceptualising at the higher education employability - enterprise interface; proposal and validation of the ‘AGILE’ mind-set tool. American Marketing Association (AMA) Global Research Symposium on Marketing and Entrepreneurship (SIG) 2019: Doctoral Consortium, Regent's University, United Kingdom. 27 - 29 Jun 2019. pp. 1-2 .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)

Abstract

Key words: Employability, Enterprise Education, Learning, Agile, Reflection, Narrative, MindsetIntroduction The relevance of current measures of employability and entrepreneurial (E&E) outcomes of a course of Higher Education (HE) study are highly debated (Rae, 2007; Rae, 2017; Scott, Penaluna & Thompson, 2016). Given such current metrics are often reliant upon statistics at predominately general, cohort level, taken at a one-off cross-section point (e.g. DLHE); are they fit for evaluating the longer term E&E gains from a University experience (Holmes, 2013a, 2013b)? HE stakeholders continue to discuss whether attempting to perform against exit performance metrics, engenders positive or negative responses (Knibbs, 2015). Educators and employers increasingly argue that E&E outcomes should not focus heavily on hard skills, but a broader range of behavioural, attitudinal and mindset changes (Fletcher-Brown, Knibbs & Middleton, 2015), claiming these provide more sophisticated bases for exploring the longitudinal value of the HE experience for graduates (Pickernell, Packham, Jones, Miller & Thomas, 2011). Importantly, this paper asks is there value in individual students contributing contextualised insight, in the form of their own E&E development narrative? Qualitative and quantitative data gathered from approximately 300 Undergraduate students at a UK business school, compares findings from those studying Marketing with others taking an enterprise module. Each respondent used the ‘AGILE’ reflection tool and their responses are evaluated to investigate correlations between gender, domicile, subject studied and exposure to enterprise education, as variables, affecting E&E development. The aim is to further discussion relevant to all HE stakeholders, regarding E&E outcome measures.Relevant background information“Higher education (HE) stakeholders are increasingly driven to achieve against a range of metrics including student satisfaction, employment levels on exit (HESA, 2016), research generation, knowledge transfer income and teaching excellence. Employability metrics are publicly available data and as such may have an effect on higher education institution (HEI) reputations, retention rates and course demand (Quintini and Pouliakas, 2014; Caza, Brower and Wayne, 2015; Kakouris, 2015). [Yet], scrutiny and focus on achieving against these metrics can create responses and activities which may, ironically, be contradictory or unhelpful towards achieving intended objectives (Holmes, 2013a)”, Clinkard, (2018, p375).Through critical reviews of pertinent literature and models, the author’s previously published work (Clinkard, 2018; Fletcher-Brown et al, 2015; Knibbs, 2015), explored the link between enterprise education input and employability outcomes, and debated the effectiveness of HE first destination metrics at capturing E&E outcomes of the HE experience. These culminated in the proposal of the “employaGility” concept and subsequent AGILE self-reflection tool, where students are encouraged to create a reflective narrative of their E&E related development against: Adaptable, Gatherer, Identity Awareness, Life-Long Learning and Enterprising capabilities. This work suggested that use of the AGILE model could “offer a student-generated glossary of terms which could be used to help them develop a narrative of E&E gains, which could enhance how they portray themselves for employers or as self-employed professionals” (Clinkard, 2018, p387) and recommended that empirical research be conducted. Hence, it has been adapted for a cloud capturing format (via Google forms), which enables students to populate their own record; see what other students have written and, critically, staff (with permission); can collate and compare the language and terms used in entries, generating a ‘semantic glossary’ of terms, as a basis for thematic analysis research. This ‘glossary’ could further be used to ensure definitions of employability and enterprise are described in student-friendly terms. By encouraging students to revisit this record over time (for example, each academic year, as part of personal and professional development discussions), students can reflect on achievements against each dimension and identify gaps for improvement not just at one point, but for as long as they wish, even after their time in HE (Clinkard, 2018).This paper reports after AGILE has been implemented as a teaching and learning device with cohorts of business school undergraduates over the past two academic years, which has generated a bank of associated primary data. It is hoped that quantitative and qualitative analysis of student responses will enable evaluation of how effectively it was explained, understood and utilised, as well as what value it may have for improving student E&E outcomes, or how these could be measured at the individual level.Research approachThe AGILE self-reflection tool is explained to first year and second year undergraduates (including a control group who do not have any explicit enterprise education) as part of their HE course, with student responses being collected via an online Google form survey. Mixed methods response data were collected into spreadsheets and transferred into SPSS, where appropriate analysis tests are applied. Qualitative expressions of E&E development submitted as self-reflective narrative responses will be correlated against gender, domicile, subject studied and employability outcome variables, in order to evaluate the potential value of the AGILE tool.AimsAnalysis and conclusions from the primary data intend to indicate:•Differences between terms used by student narratives to explain their E&E development and those used in academia to promote related learning•Differences of E&E development between students based on gender, domicile, subject studied, exposure to enterprise education and their E&E outcomes•Weaknesses in existing methods for measuring E&E benefits and outcomesConclusions/implications“Graduates need to be aware of, and able to reflect on, how changes in the employment, working and start-up landscape are likely to affect their exit trajectory and alter their approach accordingly (Leibowitz, Ndebele, and Winberg, 2014). This involves switching jobs, employers and career paths several times (Marginson, 2014), which is not currently effectively tracked through cross-sectional exit destination data (HESA, 2016); Geneva ILO, 2017)”, Clinkard (2018, p381).This paper aims to identify areas for improvement in attempts to measure E&E outcomes at the individual level, which could be adopted by any HE stakeholder (including staff in careers and entrepreneurial services, teachers, programme leaders, students, employers and policy makers). Importantly, it is hoped that GRSME Consortium attendees perceive valuable insights for enhancing curricula, through identification of tangible benefits to students, from adopting AGILE mindset development teaching and tools.

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Published date: 27 June 2019
Venue - Dates: American Marketing Association (AMA) Global Research Symposium on Marketing and Entrepreneurship (SIG) 2019: Doctoral Consortium, Regent's University, United Kingdom, 2019-06-27 - 2019-06-29
Keywords: Enterprise, employability, Agile, mindset, SELF-EFFICACY, Higher education, entrepreneurial marketing

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Local EPrints ID: 437336
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/437336
PURE UUID: 73800a2f-bc29-4fda-87b5-c89c6b5cf174

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Date deposited: 24 Jan 2020 17:31
Last modified: 24 Jan 2020 17:31

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Author: Karen Clinkard

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