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Student Perceptions of Workplace Communication During Co-Operative Work Term Experiences

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Document pages: 10 pages

Abstract: Cooperative education gives students the opportunity to observe important interpersonal skills while applying their technical knowledge. Eighty students on their second and third coop work terms described communication incidents in face-to-face, mobile text, and mobile voice situations perceived to have shaped relationships with their managers. Richness is provided by a qualitative analysis that asks students to express their feelings about how they are talked to by their supervisors. Results identify some apparent themes with respect to the use of message content and tone, media selection and message timing. They also show that students appear to value face-to-face communication and reveal that social extra-role relationships are important to student feelings of self-efficacy and attributions of manager effectiveness. These connections may form the basis for student development of their own communication styles. The results lead to suggestions of how to make the learning of communication skills more tangible within coop programs.

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