Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Management Information Systems
There is a tradition in vocational education which emphasizes teaching technical knowledge and skills while neglecting the development of attitudes and social skills which have been shown to be important causes of problems for office workers. The terms in general use to identify these skills and attitudes are work adjustment and occupational adjustment. Borow calls them " ... the work ethos, a set of attitudes, rules of etiquette, and interpersonal skills involving relations with fellow workers, supervisors, and clients." He goes on to say that:
It is astonishing to what degree the school and the community assume that any student who is making the transition from school to employment has somehow mastered work protocol and the repertoire of unwritten and formal, yet highly critical, situational skills. It may be noted, parenthetically, that among culturally disadvantaged youth it is the utter lack of an acceptable work ethos quite as fully as inadequate training in the formal duties of the job that makes the work situation seem so bewildering and terrifying and which so frequently predisposes such novices to almost certain failure. (Borow, 1969, p. 1)
The opinion stated above also appears in the writings of people who are responsible for Manpower Development and Training Programs. A study conducted by Pucel (1968) showed that MDTA trainees in Minnesota feel skill development to be very important. There was less agreement regarding the responsibility to build desirable work-related attitudes.
The need for information about the personal qualities and characteristics of MOTA trainees is illustrated by the following excerpt from an article in Business Education World:
This is the MDTA girl--the one we know. We know she has enrolled in the MDTA class, that she has some typing background, that she possesses the qualifications for success as a secretary and that she wants to be trained in this program.
This is the MDTA girl I want to talk about... the one we don't know.
We don't know that she may be here because her husband passed away last year.
We don't know that things are rough financially around the house right now.
We don't know that she is barely getting by with her four little children, and no husband.
We don't know that she didn't eat lunch last Tuesday because there was no money for lunches.
We don't know that she was afraid to enroll in the course after several years away from study.
We '11 never know how many times she decided to back out-but something kept pushing her on to go to school.
We don't know how heavily all the petty problems at home are magnified when she is sitting in class, hour after hour.
If we knew all these things, we would want to help her more. (Denny, 1970, p. 15)
Jensen, Mary Ann, "The Indentification of Work Adjustment Problems of the 1970 and 1971 Manpower Development and Training Program Trainees at Utah State University" (1972). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 655.