Self-concepts and work values of CETA clerical participants in southwestern Virginia

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Previous research associated with manpower programs has tended to emphasize economic outcome measures. The focus of this study was on noneconomic outcomes (self-concepts and work values) associated with participation in structured and nonstructured clerical Employment and Training programs. A theoretical framework for the study was that self-concepts and work values were more likely to be enhanced in a structured setting as compared with a nonstructured setting.

The specific problem was to determine which Employment and Training activity in ROC 1, i.e., Group 1 (public service employment and work experience) or Group 2 (skill center), produced the greater change in participants' self-concepts and work values. Two related subproblems were also studied: One problem dealt with changes that occurred in the self-concepts and work values of Subgroups 2A and 2B and the other problem dealt with the relationship of selected demographic variables and self-concepts and work values of Group 1 and Group 2 participants.

ROC 1, located in the Balance of State (prime sponsor), is comprised of 13 counties and 3 cities and towns in southwestern Virginia. The 109 economically disadvantaged female subjects in this study were pre- and posttested with the Tennessee Self Concept Scale and the Work Values Inventory from April 1979 through March 1980 and included 36 subjects in Group 1 and 73 in Group 2.

The data for Group 1 revealed a mean self-concept pretest score of 343.53 and a mean posttest score of 341.19, reflecting a net loss of 2.34. Six work values subscales declined between pre- and posttesting while nine increased. The data for Group 2 showed a mean self-concept pretest score of 327.75 which increased to a mean posttest score of 337.68, an increase of 9.88. Only two work values subscales had a mean gain on the posttest. All other subscales reflected a net mean decline.

The pretest self-concept mean for Subgroup 2A was 313.30 and 337.20 for Subgroup 2B. Posttest mean were 329.52 for Subgroup 2A and 344.33 for Subgroup 2B. Subgroup 2A showed declines on means of 13 of the 15 work values subscales; Subgroup 2B had declines on 11 of the subscales.

Correlational analyses--Pearson r, point biserial, and Spearman rho--were used to study the relationship between selected demographic variables and work values and self-concepts. In Group 1, three subscales--management, surroundings, and independence--reflected a low correlation with age, two positive and one negative, respectively. Prestige had a low positive correlation with type of occupational experience. In Group 2, altruism had a low correlation with educational level. There was little if any correlation between self-concepts and the variables mentioned above in either Group 1 or Group 2.

It was concluded that (1) self-concepts were enhanced through participation in skill center programs, (2) self-concepts were net enhanced through participation in public service employment and work experience programs, (3) as self-concepts increased and work values declined in Group 1, there was less need for work to enhance the subjects' feelings of worth, (4) all subjects valued the same four out of five work values subscales highest and the same four out of five subscales lowest, (5) the work values orientation of these Appalachian disadvantaged subjects was a combination of intrinsic, extrinsic, and concomitant valuing, (6) there was generally a lack of relationship between the demographic variables and self-concepts and work values, (7) in Group 1, there was a low positive relationship between age and supervisory relations and management, a low negative relationship between age and independence, and a low positive relationship between type of experience and prestige, and (10) there was a low positive relationship between educational level and altruism in Group 2.