Knowledge junkies or careerbuilders? A mixed-methods approach to exploring the determinants of students’ intention to earn a PhD

  • Elisabeth Müller (Contributor)
  • Miriam Flickinger (Contributor)
  • Dorner, V. (Contributor)

Activity: Talk or presentationScience to science


What are the determinants of students’ interest in earning a PhD? In this study we use a mixed-methods approach to pursue this question. Based on qualitative interview data and using insights from social cognitive career theory (Lent et al., 1994; Lent & Brown, 1996), we develop a model in which personality-related and behavioral characteristics such as intrinsic or extrinsic academic motivation and academic achievement interact with environmental factors such as working con-ditions to influence career intentions. We then test this model using a sample of 229 students currently enrolled in master-level courses of study at a German university. In contrast to our ex-pectations, results suggest that while intrinsic life aspirations and the intellectual challenge of gaining a PhD play a significant role for students’ intention to pursue a PhD, extrinsic life aspira-tions and external determinants seem to be less influential. Fur-thermore, results highlight the im-portance of gaining familiarity and experience with academic work for stu-dents’ career decisions.
Period27 May 201529 May 2015
Event title77. Jahrestagung des Verbandes der Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft (VHB)
Event typeUnkonwn
Degree of RecognitionNational

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502050 Business informatics