Mind The Gap: An Exploratory Case Study Analysis of Public Relations Student Intern and On-Site Supervisors’ Perceptions of Job Skills and Professional Characteristics
Internships have significant early career advantages for undergraduates including less time finding a first employment position, increased monetary compensation and greater overall job satisfaction. Considerable professional and scholarly evidence highlights the important role of undergraduate internships, as well as gaps that exist between students and supervisors regarding the relative importance of specific job skills and professional characteristics. While previous studies have explored the underlying feelings and expectations of the two groups in professional and academic contexts, this exploratory case study uses coorientation as the theoretical framework to examine the levels of agreement, congruency and accuracy that exist between them in relation to key jobs skills and professional characteristics linked with career success; it also provides insight into the extent to which respondents perceive that the internship improved students’ college-learning outcomes. The key findings of this study indicate that the majority of respondents believed that the experience improved performance in relation to college learning outcomes. The study also found that students and supervisors are accurately cooriented with one another in relation to job skills items, but less so when it comes to professional characteristics. This could be particularly problematic for student interns as misperceptions and misunderstanding can potentially lead to missed opportunities for collaboration and integration, and/or a self-fulfilling prophecy where supervisors’ lack of coorientation damages the possibility of a cooperative relationship with current and future student interns, and the academic programs that bring them together.
Shaw, T. (2017). Mind The Gap: An Exploratory Case Study Analysis of Public Relations Student Intern and On-Site Supervisors’ Perceptions of Job Skills and Professional Characteristics. Journal of Public Relations Education 3(2), 59-77.
Virtual Commons Citation
Shaw, Thomasena (2017). Mind The Gap: An Exploratory Case Study Analysis of Public Relations Student Intern and On-Site Supervisors’ Perceptions of Job Skills and Professional Characteristics. In Communication Studies Faculty Publications. Paper 62.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/commstud_fac/62