Enhancing Retention of Future Information Professionals Using Attitude Inoculation

Isabelle Fagnot, Jeffrey Stanton

Abstract


Employment predictions in the field of Information Systems (IS) vary over time, but em- ployers often report a gap between the available IT workforce and their needs for skilled in- formation professionals. The existence of such gaps raises questions about how college stu- dents make decisions about persistence in majors with respect to available information about employment prospects. The main objective of this article is to understand whether and how inoculating messages may help students to maintain pre-existing positive attitudes towards occupational features of the IT profession; to explore why some choose to stay in the information technology disciplines; and to suggest potential solutions to augment the number of those who stay.

This research study used Inoculation Theory to hypothesize that students who heard an inoculative message prior to a persuasive message concerning post-graduate employment would show a greater resistance to attitude change than students in a control group, and that there would be a difference in resistance to change based on gender and on program of study.

The results of our field experiment showed that significant differences arose among the different groups of students. As hypothesized, the participants in the treatment group had more resistance to attitude change; participants in control groups were more affected by the persuasive message than participants who had received an inoculation treatment. The analyses did not detect significant differences in attitudes based on gender and major. These results have implications for effective retention of future information professionals. 


Keywords


Systèmes d’Information, Professionnels de l’Information, Rétention, Attitude, Théorie de l’Inoculation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.9876/sim.v20i2.588

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