Emotional Intelligence and Locus of Control as Correlates of Career Choice in Business Education Among Undergraduates

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1. BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Generally, researchers have investigated issues relating to aspects of career choice by teenagers (Breakwell, 1988; Dick & Rallis, 1991; Jawitz, 2000; Woolnough, 1994). Southwick (2000), for example: observes the trend toward a decline in graduate enrolments in health-related fields, as well as science and engineering, having recorded enrolment decline from 1993-1997, after four decades of annual increases. A continuing decline of admissions in these areas may lead to a shortage of skilled health and science workers and this could ultimately hurt the society. Palmer (2005) also observes the reduction in the numbers and calibre of students seeking admissions into engineering education in Australia. Poor image of the engineering profession generally and the poor understanding of engineering in schools were identified as contributing reasons for this situation. In Nigeria, many youths make wrong career choices due to ignorance, inexperience, peer pressure, advice from friends, parents and teachers, or as a result of the prestige attached to certain jobs without adequate vocational guidance and career counseling (Salami, 1999). Consequently, many of them are unsuited for their careers, as they usually find themselves in jobs that do not satisfy their value needs. When this occurs, they constitute nuisance to themselves and their employers. They are usually unable to contribute meaningfully to the society, and they ultimately become liability to the nation. Burke and Peter (1992) argue, however, that it is "clear that students come to the courses with, sometimes, vague expectations, often based on outdated ideas of what the library profession involves, or with a fixed intention to follow down a specific road". It has been observed that entrants into some Nigerian Universities showed that many of them would have preferred other courses of study to Business Education. It seems also that many fresh students in these schools offered to study the course only after being rejected by the department of first choice, owing to low scores obtained at the University Matriculation Examination (UME).

Much research work has been carried out on so many other factors influencing career choice of undergraduates in Business Education, but none has focused on influence of emotional intelligence and locus of Control. Therefore this study will focus on how and to what extent Emotional Intelligence and Locus of control can influence career choice in business among undergraduates.

For most people, emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important than one’s intelligence (IQ) in attaining success in their lives and carrier. As individuals our success and the success of the profession today depend on our ability to read other peoples signals and react approximately to them. Therefore, each one of us must develop the mature emotional intelligence skills required to better understand, empathize and negotiate with other people- particularly as the economy has become more global. Otherwise, success will elude us in life and carrier. “Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,” says Gardner, the influential Harvard theorist.

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic.

Since 1990, Salovey and Mayer have been the leading researchers on emotional intelligence. In their influential article "Emotional Intelligence," they defined emotional intelligence as, "the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions" (1990). Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to the ability to perceive,...
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