Project Management Institute

Exploring Student Perceptions of Their Readiness for Project Work

Utilizing Social Cognitive Career Theory

A changing labor market is leading to an increased prevalence in project work. In this study, we explore student perceptions of project work. We find that these emerging adults prefer leadership positions, are concerned with social values, and view project work as essential preparation for the workplace. Utilizing a social cognitive career theory lens, we find that the goals, interests, and self- efficacy beliefs of emerging adults align with the needs of project management, but there is a lack of technical knowledge on project processes. Framing the question from the viewpoint of students who will be entering the workforce at the end of their programs of study, we see that students embrace the concepts inherent in project work. The implication for human resource managers is that emerging adults believe that they can succeed in project work, but technical skills are needed to help them succeed in formal project management roles. We provide recommendations, discuss limitations, and suggest future research directions
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