Under Graduate Occupational Preferences

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Under Graduate Occupational Preferences



Dr. Panch Ramalingam



M/s. Versa Books,



September 1998









Rs. 150/-



Former Vice - Chancellor
Pondicherry Central University
Presently Member, Planning Commission, Government of India.

Dr. Panch. Ramalingam, Lecturer, Academic Staff College, Pondicherry Central University, joined the University when I had the privilege of starting this University as the founder Vice-Chancellor in 1985.

I felt very glad when I saw the work of Dr. Ramalingam "UnderGraduate Occupational Preferences - a study." In todays world we find myriads of students getting into a confused scenario of not knowing how to proceed further after graduation. Dr. White - Head has rightly stated that "Education is supposed to give a clear mind, but unfortunately many face a frustrating period of indecision on graduation." Yes. Very true words indeed. Even consider the Higher Secondary Stage. At the plus two level, the boy and girl actually stands at cross roads not knowing their correct destination. The funny phenomenon of every parent pinning their hopes to make their wards Medical Doctors by hook or by crook is an evidence of the utter weakness of our system of preferences. Absence of clear data combined with a helpless state of not clearly knowing one's aptitude results in the unfortunate dilemma of putting square pegs in round holes.

Correct decision making is conspicuous by its absence. In this area, clear guidance is necessary to the under graduate to choose his right path.

Dr. Ramalingam has done a signal service in this vital area by this publication. A perusal of the book will reveal the pains taken by the author to bring together in one place all relevant ideas governing occupational development and occupational preference. Decision making is linked with mental health and we could see a definite correlation between self esteem and the personality of the person who has to take a decision.

Dr. Ramalingam has been familiar with the top relevant scholars dealing with this tricky problem of occupational preference to-day.

Dr. Ramalingam's study is an exhaustive one and every chapter bears an indeliable imprint of the author's careful research in this difficult area.

Such professional books are most welcome and I have to place on record my deepest sense of appreciation of the well documented study of Dr. Ramalingam on the Under Graduate Preferences.


M. Raghuram Singh

This is a study of the occupational preferences of under-graduate stu- dents in relation to selected variables viz., decision- making styles, decision- making self-esteem and mental health. It also investigates the occupational preferences of these students in rela- tion to demographic variables such as gender, discipline of study, order of birth, age, parental education and oc- cupation.

The author presents his research in seven chapters. The first chapter serves as an introduction. The technical terms are defined herein. In the area of occu- pational preference, there are six occu- pational environments for the student to express his interest. They are: real- istic indicating preference for mechan- ical and manual occupations; investigative preference for scientific occupations; artistic preference for fine arts occupations; social preference for service occupations; enterprising pref- erence for business and related occu- pations; and conventional preference for clerical occupations.

There are six decision-making styles. They are: vigilance, search for informa- tion, considering alternatives carefully before making a choice: hyper vigi- lance, making decisions impulsively; defensive avoidance, tendency to es- cape from decision-making; rational- isation, avoiding unpleasant aspects and concentrating on positive aspects of the choice; buck-passing, leaving the hard decision to others, avoiding re- sponsibility to take decisions and pro- crastination, putting off decision-making. Mental health is de- nned by the World Health Organisation as the balanced development of the to- tal personality which enables one to in- teract effectively and harmoniously with the society. The second chapter covers review of research literature re- lating to studies in occupational prefer- ence, decision-making, self-esteem and mental health. None of the previ- ous studies has clearly pointed out the combined relationship between occu- pational preferences, decision-making styles, and mental health of the under- graduate students.

The third chapter presents the back- ground of the study, the problem in- vestigated, the objectives and the hypotheses. The researcher has set up in a rigorous manner as many -as 35 major hypotheses and 187 sub-hypoth- eses for studying the relationship be- tween selected psychological and demographic variables. In the fourth chapter, he narrates the methodology adopted. The following instruments were used for the collection of relevant data — self- directed search question- naire (SDSQ); decision-making ques- tionnaire-I; decision-making questionnaire-11; mental health ques- tionnaire; and personal information schedule.

A random sample of 408 under-grad- uate students studying in various dis- ciplines such as language, social sciences, commerce and sciences, of the Tagore Arts College and me Bha- rathidasan Government College for Women in the Union Territory of Pon- dicherry was utilised for data collec- tion.

Chapter V analyses the data present- ed in as many as 74 tables besides three graphical presentations. The entire da- ta is used to test the hypotheses framed, whether they could be accept- ed or rejected. The next chapter dis- cusses the findings. The last chapter offers a summary and conclusions. Bibliography, author index and subject index are placed at the tail-end as usu- al. Among the six occupational areas, on the basis of scores obtained, their preferences can be expressed in the fol- lowing order: social, artistic, investiga- tive, conventional, enterprising and realistic. Among the seven decision- making styles, the most predominant one is vigilance and this is followed by others in this order: self-esteem, hyper- vigilance, rationalisation, defensive avoidance, buck-passing and procras- tination.

There is a significant positive rela- tionship between student's self-esteem and vigilant style of decision-making and a negative relationship with all other styles of decision^malqng. Self- esteem is positively related to investi- gative and social occupational prefer- ence. Vigilant decision-making style is positively correlated to all the six occu- pational preference areas. Tills reveals that the low and high vigilant decision- making of students do differ signifi- cantly in their occupational preference. Low self-esteem students have better mental health than high-self-esteem students. Mental health of students has positive relationship with their prefer- ence for enterprising, social and con- ventional occupational areas.

In the light of the findings of this re- search, the occupational preferences, decision-making styles and mental health of the students may be en- hanced by providing comprehensive guidance in occupational interest and effective decision-making skills. Coun- selling services may be directed to- wards the development of a positive attitude among the students towards self-esteem as a decision maker and the improvement in the quality of in- terpersonal relationships within the family and classroom. Further research in this area will prove very useful to the student community.

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