ERIC Number: ED358320
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
Is the "Skills Gap" Really about Attitudes? EQW Working Papers.
There is mounting evidence that the most significant deficit of new work force entrants is not an "academic skills gap" but rather poor attitudes concerning work. Despite growing recognition of their fundamental link to the quality of the work force, work attitudes have received virtually no detailed discussion in the public policy arena. Research on socialization and longitudinal studies confirm that work attitudes can indeed be influenced. Employer surveys and personality-based research studies indicate that the strength of the link between various personality traits and job performance varies widely across occupations. Research also confirms that managers can raise worker's motivation, initiative, self-determination, and persistence by providing positive feedback, information, and choices for workers to make. Another important research finding is that prosocial behavior can be developed both on the job and during early childhood. Because family background and early life experiences are good predictors of "hard-core unemployment" and because the key to shaping individuals' moral development probably lies at some middle ground between the social learning and cognitive development perspectives, it appears likely that schools can shape work-related values. The approach of teaching values along the lines of social learning or the situationist model also appears promising. (Contains 82 references.) (MN)
Descriptors: Attitude Change, Educational Policy, Employment Qualifications, Job Skills, Moral Development, Motivation, Occupational Surveys, Personality Traits, Predictor Variables, Prosocial Behavior, Public Policy, Secondary Education, Social Science Research, Unemployment, Values Education, Vocational Adjustment, Work Attitudes
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce, Philadelphia, PA.