Expectancy theory prediction of students' choice of graduate studies

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This study attempts to apply the expectancy model of work motivation to the prediction of students' choice between seeking graduate-level training in their home country and traveling overseas for that purpose. The expectancy model was adjusted to accommodate the path goal instrumentalities of the two mutually exclusive choices. Prediction of choice was based on the difference between the subjective perceptions of the two alternatives. Senior undergraduate students (450) completed the study questionnaire a few weeks before graduation. The questionnaire assessed the instrumentality (I) of the two alternatives for the attainment of 11 life outcomes and the valence (V) of the outcomes. The actual choice of graduate school location was also reported by the students. As predicted, significant differences between the subjects who decided to stay in their home country and those who decided to travel were found in terms of their I ×V only when the instrumentality of both alternatives was accounted for. Intrinsic outcomes were found to be better related to criterion than extrinsic ones. There were no differences between the groups in terms of the V component of the model. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for the structure of the decision making process regarding alternative choices for career development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-223
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Higher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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