Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Management Information Systems
Edward L. Houghton
One major aspect of business education has always been character training. In many cases, businessmen feel that the technical skills are not as important as good character. Therefore, business educators must consider the wishes of the businessman and train their students to fill the jobs he offers. By trying to instill many of the desirable personal characteristics in students, business educators may help meet this goal.
The character traits needed by business would depend on the needs of the individual business and the personal preferences of the person in charge of hiring. There are differences, both in quantity and quality, in desirable characteristics among various business occupations. Those traits that are important to salesmen may not be important to typists. Those traits important to typists may not be important to secretaries. This concept can apply to all occupations.
It is commonly recognized that the possession of certain skills, knowledges, and understandings do not, of themselves, assure success on the job. Most office workers perform their tasks under the supervision of and in association with other people. It would seem, then, that it is important for the office worker to develop those personal characteristics which will contribute to his success in situations of this type.
If general education is considered to be the adaptation of the person to his surroundings, then business education must be the adjustment of the person to his business environment. ' Therefore, business educators must train students for specific jobs as well as give students the ability to survive in the business world by trying to develop in them the characteristics necessary for their survival.
Character traits are too subtle to be taught as such (40). So, business teachers have to try to create an atmosphere that will lead to the development of desirable characteristics. This may be accomplished by teaching in a businesslike manner or by simulating an actual office. The students will then be able to get an idea of what the world of work is actually like. They will begin to see what will be expected of them once they are employed in an office.
Although development of personal characteristics usually goes along with effective subject-matter teaching, there must be some planned activities which would emphasize the particular traits desired.
The business teacher will probably be following the wises t course if he projects his teaching situation in skill and factual learnings and then determines the kinds of personality factors he should emphasize. In other words, the performance objectives of a unit of teaching should be stated as skills and facts. Then the teacher should determine the attitudes needed to form these skills and facts into overall performance competencies. Attitudes can be taught best in relation to the more tangible learnings rather than by themselves, as abstract character traits (40, p. 105).
The teacher is always helping to develop personal characteristics in his students whether it is intentional or not. Students will imitate the instructor's standards and attitudes. If the instructor is lax in arriving for class on time, the students will follow this example. If instructors talk about their superiors behind their backs, can the students be expected to do otherwise? It is the teacher's responsibility to set a good example. The teacher should make sure he appears as an upstanding example of all the personal characteristics that he expects his students to have. All possible opportunities to develop good attitudes should be taken advantage of; this is especially true in real situations. For example, any phone calls that have to be made could be delegated to students in an attempt to develop their telephone manners.
Benson, Gail Verderamo, "A Survey To Determine Methods Used By Selected Employers of Cache County, Utah, To Assess Desirable Personal Characteristics Need by Typists, Stenographers, and Secretaries" (1972). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 660.