Changing Trends in Business Shape Education's Focus on Integrity
Freitag, Del H., Journal of Instructional Psychology
Business over the many years has prided itself in choosing only the academic highest, or the creme of the crop. In this new twenty-first century, a new standard is emerging. One, which is re-examining the value of an employee with regards to integrity. The problem is that although business has been hiring very bright, academic candidates, many times these employees do not turn out to be loyal, trustworthy, or cooperative workers in a world of corporate team survival. The plan of successful corporations is to transfer focus of new employees to include these "soft skills", skills that include attitude, work ethic, team building, problem solving, and group dynamic skills. Results of searching for prospective new hires with these attributes have yielded such benefits as loyalty to company secrets and corporate pride. Also, a sense of belonging has increased and self-esteem has grown. The old "thirty year company man" concept is coming back bringing devotion and trust where it used to be fifty years ago in the United States. Companies are finding this method of selection very rewarding. Corporate stability in personnel, more effective teamwork, harder effort through loyalty to goals and commitment has brought a calming sense of trust.
Mutual effort on the part of both company and employee are the results of this "new" relationship. Business is now eagerly communicating with colleges and schools to teach our youth these skills that may not be textbook curriculum, but are skills that schools reinforce every day in the dissemination of each subject. Through cooperative learning, service learning, and other daily programs, schools must stress more than ever the foundations of true integrity. It is a bit ironic that as we are jettinginto the new millennium, the most sought after abilities in business may be what your Mother and teachers taught us about "getting along and being trustworthy".
"Times, they are a changing". Don't we hear that common phrase so often that we begin to temper what is said next? But it is true. Times change, theories change, philosophies change, and systems change. What are these changes, and what is business trying to tell us in the education of our youth?
Lowell Catlett, guest lecturer at the recent Summer Institute for Nova Southeastern University 1999 shared some informative and enlightening trends which present opportunities for reflection and adjustment in focus and delivery of our curriculum. In preparing our children for the future job market, he identified certain notable trends:
1. Business is rethinking their needs as far as new employee requirements for hire.
2. Customizing is the new catchword to satisfying the New World market. (Customizing products and skills)
3. Business is shifting priorities from strict academic criteria to a blend of academics and more important "soft skills" (interpersonal skills.)
4. Business has the capacity to train and sharpen the needed academic skills.
5. These skills in demand now are: attitude, work ethic, teams building, problem solving, and group dynamic skills.
6. This "integrity" is the latest overall package that business is looking for in potential candidates.
Why might we ask is business doing this? Business must retrain new employees for specific applications anyway, so the academics to be a success in the field can be taught in a short amount of time. But teaching attitude, effort, determination, and loyalty are areas that take many years to develop and instill.
The truth is that the old way of strictly hiring by grade point average and class rank is fading away. Large companies now admit, due to the realized need to customize that such a changing business climate demands continuous training anyway. This term of customizing is everywhere throughout business. Car manufacturers must be able to make body styling changes within minutes or sales and shipping deadlines can ruin sales. …