Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2009, Vol. 8, No. 4, 527–539.
Making the Most of an Internship: An Empirical Study of Internship Satisfaction CAROLINE P. D’ABATE Skidmore College MARK A. YOUNDT Skidmore College and University of Vermont KATHRYN E. WENZEL Caturano and Company Since internships are becoming more widely used as learning tools for students to help fill the gap between classroom learning and the practice of business, it is important to understand what aspects of these experiences make them the most worthwhile. This study assessed satisfaction of interns by looking at three broad factors (i.e., job characteristics, work environment characteristics, and contextual factors), which may contribute to internship satisfaction. Our results indicate that characteristics of the job (specifically, task significance and feedback) and characteristics of the work environment (in particular, learning opportunities, supervisor support, and organizational satisfaction) were the best predictors of internship satisfaction. These findings can assist business schools, faculty, students, and host companies in making a key developmental experience, internships, as satisfying as possible.
........................................................................................................................................................................ Despite the reality that business departments and schools focus on the professional development of their students, how well we prepare our students for the “real world” of business has been questioned. Over a decade ago, for example, Wren, Buckley, and Michaelsen (1994: 141) noted that even though management education’s “mission is primarily to prepare people to practice their skills in the business world,” we have fallen short in “producing managers who are equipped for the practice of management.” It appears little has changed over the past decade, as several recent articles (e.g., Pfeffer & Fong, 2002; Starkey & Tempest, 2005) raise similar concerns regarding the relationship between classroom learning and actual business practices and, thus, continue to issue a call “for management education to be more grounded in management practice” (Ashkanasy, 2006: 207). A parallel sentiment is emerging in BizEd, AACSB’s publication on management and business education, where numerous authors write that practical, experiential-learning activities are necessary to give students firsthand skill develop527 Copyright of the Academy of Management, all rights reserved. Contents may not be copied, emailed, posted to a listserv, or otherwise transmitted without the copyright holder’s express written permission. Users may print, download or email articles for individual use only.
ment, insights, and knowledge they cannot get through the classroom alone (“A Mentor Program,” 2007; Bisoux, 2007; Posner, 2008; “The Future is Now,” 2008). While the call for applied learning activities in management and business programs has been both pervasive and quite vocal, Navarro’s (2008) recent web survey of 50 top business schools found that only a small number include experiential learning in their core curricula. As a result, he urges business schools to innovate their core curricula to include more experientiallearning activities, such as live projects and internships as prescribed in the literature, which force students to engage in “real-world problem solving” (2008: 108). It is important to note, however, that it’s not that management and business students are not engaging in internships, it’s just that the majority of these internships are not systematically integrated into the formal learning experience. In fact, a Vault (2000) survey of 1,004 college seniors found that 77% of the students completed at least one...
References: Agho, G. O., Mueller, C. W., & Price, J. L. 1993. Determinants of employee job satisfaction: An empirical test of a causal model. Human Relations, 46(8): 1007–1027. A mentor program that’s bullish. Nov/Dec 2007. BizEd: 80. Aronsson, G., Gustafsson, K., & Dallner, M. 2002. Work environment and health in different types of temporary jobs. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 11(2): 151–175. Ashkanasy, N. M. 2006. Introduction: Arguments for a more grounded approach in management education. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 5(2): 207–208. Bisoux, T. Nov/Dec 2007. Joining Forces. BizEd: 48 –55. Bowling, N. A. 2007. Is the job satisfaction-job performance relationship spurious? A meta-analytic examination. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 71: 167–185. Clark, S. C. 2003. Enhancing the educational value of business internships. Journal of Management Education, 27(4): 472– 484. Connolly, J. J., & Viswesvaran, C. 2000. The role of affectivity in job satisfaction: A meta-analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, 29: 265–281. Cote, S. 1999. Affect and performance in organizational settings. ˆ ´ Current Directions in Psychological Science, 8(2): 65– 68. Daugherty, S. N. 2000. Internships and co-ops: An excellent way to preview and plan your future. The Black Collegian, 31: 52–56. De Cuyper, N., de Jong, J., De Witte, H., Isaksson, K., Rigotti, T., & Schalk, R. 2008. Literature review of theory and research on the psychological impact of temporary employment: Towards a conceptual model. International Journal of Management Reviews, 10(1): 25–51. Doty, D. H., & Glick, W. H. 1998. Common methods bias: Does common methods variance really bias results? Organizational Research Methods, 1(4): 374 – 406. Ellickson, M. C. 2002. Determinants of job satisfaction of municipal government employees. Public Personnel Management, 31(3): 343–358. Feldman, D. C., & Weitz, B. A. 1990. Summer interns: Factors contributing to positive developmental experiences. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 37: 267–284. Fisher, C. D., & Shaw, J. B. 1994. Relocation attitudes and adjustment: A longitudinal study. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 15: 209 –224. Fried, Y., & Ferris, G. R. 1987. The validity of the job characteristics model: A review and meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 40: 287–322. Gabris, G., & Mitchell, K. 1989. Exploring the relationships between intern job performance, quality of education experience, and career placement. Public Administration Quarterly, 12(4): 484 –504. Gault, J., Redington, J., & Schlager, T. 2000. Undergraduate business internships and career success: Are they related? Journal of Marketing Education, 22(1): 45–53. Gerhart, B. 1987. How important are dispositional factors as determinants of job satisfaction? Implications for job design and other personnel programs. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72(3): 366 –373.
Glisson, C., & Durick, M. 1988. Predictors of job satisfaction and organizational commitment in human service organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 33: 61– 81. Guest, D. E., Oakley, P., Clinton, M., & Budjanovcanin, A. 2006. Free or precarious? A comparison of the attitudes of workers in flexible and traditional employment contracts. Human Resource Management Review, 16: 107–124. Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. 1975. Development of the job diagnostic survey. Journal of Applied Psychology, 60(2): 159 –170. Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. 1980. Work redesign. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. Hellman, C. M. 1997. Job satisfaction and intent to leave. The Journal of Social Psychology, 137(6): 677– 689. Herzberg, F. 1965. The motivation to work among Finnish supervisors. Personnel Psychology, 28(4): 393– 402. Herzberg, F. 1974. Motivation-hygiene profiles: Pinpointing what ails the organization. Organizational Dynamics, 3(2): 18 –29. Hurst, J. L. 2008. Factors involved in increasing conversion rates of interns into full-time employees. Dissertation Abstracts International, 68(9-A): 3949. Iaffaldano, M. T., & Muchinsky, P. M. 1985. Job satisfaction and job performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 97(2): 251–273. Iiacqua, J. A., Schumacher, P., & Li, H. C. 1995. Factors contributing to job satisfaction in higher education. Education, 116(1): 51– 61. Jacobs, R., & Solomon, T. 1977. Strategies for enhancing the prediction of job performance from job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 62(4): 417– 421. Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., Thoresen, C. J., & Patton, G. K. 2001. The job satisfaction-job performance relationship: A qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 127(3): 376 – 407. Knoop, R. 1993. Work values and job satisfaction. The Journal of Psychology, 128(6): 683– 690. Knoop, R. 1995. Relationships among job involvement, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment for nurses. The Journal of Psychology, 129(6): 643– 649. Knouse, S. B., Tanner, J. T., & Harris, E. W. 1999. The relation of college internships, college performance, and subsequent job opportunity. Journal of Employment Counseling, 36(1): 35– 43. Malhotra, N. K., Kim, S. S., & Patil, A. 2006. Common method variance in IS research: A comparison of alternative approaches and a reanalysis of past research. Management Science, 52(12): 1865–1883. Miles, W. G., Biggs, W. D., & Schubert, J. N. 1986. Student perceptions of skill acquisition through cases and a general management simulation: A comparison. Simulation & Games, 17(1): 7–24. National Association of Colleges and Employers. 2004, December 2. News for media professionals: Internships can be key to job offer. Retrieved December 6, 2004, from http://www. naceweb.org/press/display.asp?year &prid 203. National Association of Colleges and Employers. 2005, August 4. News for media professionals: Employers report higher retention among employees with internship experience. Re-
D’Abate, Youndt, and Wenzel trieved January 9, 2005, from http://www.naceweb.org/press/ display.asp?year2005&prid 220.
Spector, P. E. 1997. Job satisfaction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Spector, P. E. 2006. Method variance in organizational research: Truth or urban legend? Organizational Research Methods, 9(2): 221–232. Starkey, K., & Tempest, S. 2005. The future of the business school: Knowledge challenges and opportunities. Human Relations, 58(1): 61– 82. Steers, R. M., & Porter, L. W. 1991. Motivation and work behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill. Steinhardt, M. A., Dolbier, C. L., Gottlieb, N. H., & McCalister, K. T. 2003. The relationship between hardiness, supervisor support, group cohesion, and job stress as predictors of job satisfaction. American Journal of Health Promotion, 17(6): 382–389. Taylor, M. S. 1988. Effects of college internships on individual participants. Journal of Applied Psychology, 73(3): 393– 401. Tett, R. P., & Meyer, J. P. 1993. Job satisfaction, organizational commitment, turnover intention, and turnover: Path analyses based on meta-analytic findings. Personnel Psychology, 46: 259 –293. The Future is Now. May/June 2008. Biz Ed: 24. Torka, N., & Schyns, B. 2007. On the transferability of “traditional” satisfaction theory to non-traditional employment relationships: Temp agency work satisfaction. Employee Relations, 29(5): 440 – 457. Trochim, W. M. K. 2005. Research methods: The concise knowledge base. Cincinnati, OH: Atomic Dog. Vault. 2000, September 1. How common are internships these days? Retrieved March 20, 2006, from http://www.vault.com/ nr/main_article_detail.jsp?article_id 18612&ht_type 5. Wesley, S. C., & Bickle, M. C. 2005. Examination of a paradigm for preparing undergraduates for a career in the retailing industries: Mentors, curriculum, and an internship. College Student Journal, 39(4): 680 – 691. Wolfe, J. 1997. The effectiveness of business games in strategic management course work. Simulation & Gaming, 28(4): 360 –376. Wren, D. A., Buckley, M. R., & Michaelsen, L. K. 1994. The theory/ applications balance in management pedagogy: Where do we stand? Journal of Management, 20(1): 141–157.
Navarro, P. 2008. The MBA core curricula of top-ranked U.S. business schools: A study in failure? Academy of Management Learning & Education, 7(1): 108 –123. Organ, D. W. 1977. A reappraisal and reinterpretation of the satisfaction-causes-performance hypothesis. Academy of Management Review, 2: 46 –53. Parker, S. K., Griffin, M. A., Sprigg, C. A., & Wall, T. D. 2002. Effect of temporary contracts on perceived work characteristics and job strain: A longitudinal study. Personnel Psychology, 55: 689 –719. Petty, M. M., McGee, G. W., & Cavender, J. W. 1984. A metaanalysis of the relationships between individual job satisfaction and individual performance. Academy of Management Review, 9(4): 712–721. Pfeffer, J., & Fong, C. T. 2002. The end of business schools? Less success than meets the eye. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 1(1): 78 –95. Posner, B. Z. May/June 2008. On leadership. BizEd: 26 –27. Raymond, M., & McNabb, D. E. 1993. Preparing graduates for the workforce: The role of business education. Journal of Education for Business, 68(4): 202–206. Riketta, M. 2008. The causal relation between job attitudes and performance: A meta-analysis of panel studies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(2): 472– 481. Romme, A. G. L. 2003. Learning outcomes of microworlds for management education. Management Learning, 34(1): 51– 61. Rothman, M. 2003. Internships: Most and least favored aspects among a business school sample. Psychological Reports, 93: 921–924. Rothman, M. 2007. Business students’ evaluation of their internships. Psychological Reports, 101: 319 –322. Sagie, A. 1998. Employee absenteeism, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction: Another look. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 52: 156 –171. Schwab, D. P., & Cummings, L. L. 1970. Theories of performance and satisfaction: A review. Industrial Relations, 9: 408 – 430. Siegel, J. P., & Bowen, D. 1971. Satisfaction and performance: Causal relationships and moderating effects. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 1: 263–269.
Caroline D’Abate is assistant professor of management at Skidmore College, where she teaches organizational behavior, human resources, and introductory business. She is active in research on developmental interactions, work/nonwork life realms, and related topics. D’Abate holds a PhD in Organizational Studies from the School of Business, University at Albany, SUNY. Mark Youndt received his PhD in management and organization from Pennsylvania State University and currently teaches at Skidmore College. He frequently lectures in executive education programs, and his research activities center on the intersections of strategy, intellectual capital, innovation, and competitive advantage. Kathryn Wenzel is a senior associate at Caturano and Company, where she works in the firm’s assurance group and is responsible for providing audit services to both public and private companies. Wenzel holds an MBA and an MSA in accounting from the Graduate School of Professional Accounting, Northeastern University.
Copyright of Academy of Management Learning & Education is the property of Academy of Management and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder 's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document