Personal values, social capital, and higher education student career decidedness: a new ‘protean’-informed model

Colm Fearon, Stefanos Nachmias, Heather McLaughlin, Stephen Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the role of personal values as motivational antecedents for understanding higher education (HE) student career decidedness among university business school (UBS) students. We propose a new ‘protean’-informed HE student career decidedness model for theorizing how both personal values and social capital mediators (student social capital; personal, social and enterprise skills; access to resources) help in the student-centric and self-directed processes of career decision-making. A mixed-methods study combines a (stage 1) survey of 308 UBS students from 5 (UK) UBS, with results from (stage 2) 4 student focus groups, and (stage 3) 2 staff–student interactive seminars. From an employability perspective, arguably, the ultimate responsibility for becoming a ‘protean graduate’ rests with each UBS student, while the obligation of HE staff is to effectively facilitate and nurture all possible personal growth and skills development opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-291
Number of pages23
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number2
Early online date13 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • career decidedness
  • employability
  • enterprise skills
  • personal values
  • social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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