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dc.contributor.advisorMcPhail, Ruth
dc.contributor.authorSmall, Lynlea
dc.date.accessioned2019-06-28T02:28:52Z
dc.date.available2019-06-28T02:28:52Z
dc.date.issued2018-12
dc.identifier.doi10.25904/1912/1197
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10072/385883
dc.description.abstractThis research examines how the relationships between workplace supervisors and business student interns enhance graduate employability in the context of higher education (HE) in Australia. The massification of HE in Australia has created a significant increase in university graduates that has not been matched by the same increase in graduate jobs (Artess, Hooley, & Mellors-Bourne, 2017). Stakeholder concerns about acceptable employability outcomes and acceptable professional outcomes for university graduates (Coates, 2015; W. Green, Hammer, & Star, 2009; C. Smith, Ferns, Russell, & Cretchely, 2014) has necessitated a collaboration between universities and industry, that includes internships (S. Kinash, L. Crane, M. Judd, & C. Knight, 2016b), to assist graduates to gain work experience that employers deem important when recruiting graduates (Jackson & Collings, 2018). Research in Australia and elsewhere has found that one of the most important contributors to a successful internship experience is the workplace supervisor (Beard & Morton, 1999; Jackson, 2015a; Rowe, Mackaway, & Winchester-Seeto, 2012; Small, 2015). Much research has been conducted in several countries outside of Australia that involves workplace supervisors who participate in internship programs, for example, Bilsland, Nagy, and Smith (2014) conducted quantitative research in Vietnam that indicated that the workplace supervisors surveyed about their business student interns, were, in general, satisfied with their performance on employability skills measures. In the United States of America, Gault, Leach, and Duey (2010) conducted a quantitative study involving employers and undergraduate business students about the perceived value of the internship experience. The authors found that undergraduate business students are perceived to be better prepared to enter the job market and achieve their personal income objectives if they have had an internship experience. In Australia, research involving workplace supervisors, while emerging, is still in its infancy (Winchester-Seeto et al., 2016). Winchester-Seeto et al. (2016) conducted a qualitative study with workplace supervisors, students and university staff from the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) department. The research related to the supervision of students enrolled in WIL programs, including internships. One outcome from that research was that the approach taken by workplace supervisors needed to be centred around building relationships with students, making them feel comfortable and better support them by being available. While the above research has contributed to knowledge about workplace supervisors supervising student interns, there is a gap relating to understanding the relationships between the two cohorts and how such relationships may enhance student interns’ employability upon graduation. To address this gap the main research question asked was: ‘How do the relationships between workplace supervisors and business student interns enhance the interns’ graduate employability?’ The research was underpinned by a theoretical framework that incorporated the long-standing Social Exchange Theory (SET) (Blau, 1964). SET is considered a strong analytical framework to understand the relationships between employees and employers (Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005). SET was supported by Meeker’s (1971) guiding rules of reciprocity, altruism, rationality, group gain, status consistency, and competition to address the research questions. The research adopted an interpretivist approach and used the qualitative method of semi-structured interviews with 20 workplace supervisors and 24 business student interns. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data and NVivo 11 was also used to add to the reliability of the analysis. The findings of this study make numerous contributions to theory and to practice. Firstly, on a theoretical basis, this is the first study in Australia to examine how the relationships between workplace supervisors and business student interns enhance the interns’ graduate employability. Further, a key finding from this study was that the altruistic behaviours of workplace supervisors toward their business student interns, complemented by workplace supervisors’ understanding and patience in the process, was the reason that strong professional relationships developed, that lead to student interns experiencing a successful internship which in turn enhanced their employability. Prior research argued that internships are based on the notion of reciprocity (Patrick et al., 2009; P. Rose et al., 2014; Ruhanen et al., 2012). From a practical viewpoint, the findings from this research if applied, will see contemporary students enjoy and gain more from the introduction of improved internships, and placed with workplace supervisors who are better suited to the job at hand and supervising for the benefit of the students as well as their own intrinsic rewards (Csikszentmihalyi, 2014). Finally, this research provides a solid platform for future research in this emerging field of study in Australia.
dc.languageEnglish
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherGriffith University
dc.publisher.placeBrisbane
dc.subject.keywordsWorkplace supervisors
dc.subject.keywordsBusiness student interns
dc.subject.keywordsGraduate employability
dc.subject.keywordsSocial Exchange Theory
dc.subject.keywordsHigher education
dc.titleAn examination of how relationships between workplace supervisors and business student interns enhance graduate employability: Participation in university internship programs
dc.typeGriffith thesis
gro.facultyGriffith Business School
gro.rights.copyrightThe author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
gro.hasfulltextFull Text
dc.contributor.otheradvisorShaw, Amie
gro.thesis.degreelevelThesis (PhD Doctorate)
gro.thesis.degreeprogramDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
gro.departmentDept Empl Rel & Human Resource
gro.griffith.authorSmall, Lynlea D.


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