The freshman experience typically requires a profusion of challenging adjustments relating to a new and demanding college environment. One significant force of attrition is transition or adjustment difficulties for freshmen. Successfully influencing freshmen includes efforts that focus on helping students make an academic, personal, and social adjustment to college. Group work provides opportunities for patterns of interaction (Evans, Forney, & Guido-DiBrito, 1998; Tinto, 2005; Upcraft, Gardner, & Associates, 1989).
It is believed that there is intensity in temporary group environments due to a need for individuals to quickly evaluate and adjust to other members, with speed and accomplishment as driving factors (Huff, Cooper, & Jones, 2002; Meyerson, Weick, and Kramer, 1996). Individuals with low levels of urgency, however, prefer taking a slow and methodical approach when adjusting to unfamiliar people and new environments (Praendex Corporation, 1999).
The purpose of this study was to investigate differences between and among personality factors relative to levels of urgency and student attitudes toward group experiences. The research question was: What are the differences between and among personality factors relative to levels of urgency and freshman attitudes toward group experiences?. This study took place with hospitality students at a midsize, private university in the Northeast.
This quantitative, descriptive study employed two instruments: one measured student attitudes toward group experiences; the second measured personality factors utilizing the Predictive Index. Descriptive statistics, including measures of central tendency, measures of variability, and frequency counts were run and t-tests were used to determine if there were significant differences in attitudes toward group experiences based on personality factors.
Freshman students (n=98) with low levels of urgency reported significantly less positive attitudes about trustworthy attributes in others (M=2.99, t=-3.21, p=.01, d=.65) than those without the factor (M=3.50); significantly less positive attitudes about benefits of groups (M=3.75, t=-1.97, p=.05, d=.40) than those without the factor (M=3.99); and significantly less positive attitudes about valuing other students (M=3.34, t=-2.37, p=.01, d=.47) than those without the factor (M = 3.70).
This study provided an institution with proposed practices designed to influence freshman group experiences positively based on findings about student attitudes when taking into account personality relative to low levels of urgency. Recommendations include adjusting group experiences, by means of, inserting practices to address issues with temporary groups, and assigning freshmen to consistent groups during the crucial freshman adjustment period.
Perakslis, C., & Kite, S. (2011). Assessment of personality factors (behavioral motivators) & attitudes toward group experiences. Paper presented at: American Evaluation Association (AEA), Anaheim, California: November 2011.
Perakslis, Dr. Christine and Kite, Stacey L., "Assessment of Personality Factors (Behavioral Motivators) & Attitudes Toward Group Experiences" (2011). Technology. Paper 5.