Importance of values for success in future careers:Students' perspective

Nasir Butrous, Australian Catholic University


Unethical behaviour has created an increasing number of headlines all around the world during the past decade. Scandals in business, government, education, science, and religion have decreased the public’s opinion that institutional leaders behave ethically. This amoral attitude may be a reflection of a combination of many factors, such as personal and family background, the values demonstrated in a particular organisational culture, and the impact of the educational system, in particular the higher education sector. Given that most of the leaders are graduates of higher educational institutions, there is a need to investigate what values higher educational students perceive important in their future careers and to what extent these values are reinforced by higher educational institutions as identified by the students. This research reports on the outcomes of using Maccoby’s (1976) Head and Heart survey of character traits. The instrument involved more than 1100 students on four campuses of four different universities in one capital city. This equates to 10% of student population on each university campus taking part in this project. This research affirms the relevant literature findings regarding higher educational institution’s ability to do a good job, at different levels, of emphasising and developing analytical skills (Head traits). However, it disagrees in relation to findings that educational institutions do a poor job of developing the qualities of the heart (Heart traits) that are normally associated with ethical behaviour.