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Term-time employment: Exploring the influence of self-identity, motivation and social issues

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to investigate experiences of students when working during the term. The particular aim of the study is to determine central aspects relevant for students when assessing their term-time job. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The data are based on a qualitative study conducted at Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany. A number of students were interviewed about various work-related issues in order to acquire information about common aspects that are frequently referred to when students assess their working experiences in terms of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Findings ‐ With regard to the results three central aspects could be raised that were important within the students' assessment of their job: the self-perception of being a student; the individual motivation to work during the term, and; social aspects like working atmosphere and social integration. Research limitations/implications ‐ Owing to the fact that it was conducted with German students the study only reflects the specific context of German higher education and German companies' use and treatment of students as flexible employees. Practical implications ‐ Students' experiences as flexible workers together with the experienced reality of their fellow non-standard employees provide them with first-hand knowledge about the working situation of those employees. Universities should constitute the basis for reflecting experiences at work, link them to already existing research in this field and help students to draw conclusions for their future professional life as managers. Originality/value ‐ The study adds to the knowledge of how students perceive their term-time job. In particular it highlights the influence of self-identity, motivation and social aspects to students' satisfaction and dissatisfaction at work. It contributes to the few studies focusing on the experiences students have as flexible employees.

Keywords: Employment; Germany; Students

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00400910910941282

Publication date: March 27, 2009

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