Educator Perceptions of Soft Skill Development: An Examination within the Malaysian Public Higher Education Sector

By Wan Sofiah Meor Osman, Antonia Girardi and Megan Paull.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Recognition of the importance of soft skills in today’s workforce has gained increasing momentum, with educators and industry bodies identifying that generic skills are vitally important to business success. Despite this acknowledgement, a survey of the current literature highlights that many higher education institutions (HEIs) maintain a stronger emphasis on subject-specific knowledge and skill development when compared to soft skills. A number of factors have been shown to influence the development of soft skills including demographic makers, professional body/accreditation requirements and educator personal expectations or views. In this study, the focus is on those educator perceptions which influence the teaching and learning of soft skills. The study is set in Malaysia, where the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) has formally acknowledged the importance of seven soft skills. Semi-structured interviews were used to examine the views of 25 educators from five Malaysian Public HEIs. Findings from the interviews showed that educator beliefs and their personal expectations or views influenced their emphasis on the teaching and learning of soft skills. The findings of the study have implications for educators, HEIs and policy makers, and for future research into the effectiveness, roles and responsibilities of HEIs in this important area.

Keywords: Soft Skills, Higher Education, Teaching and Learning

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp.49-62. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.142MB).

Wan Sofiah Meor Osman

PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, Business and Information Technology, Murdoch Business School, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Sarawak, Malaysia

Wan Sofiah Meor Osman is a lecturer in human resource development at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia. She holds a B.A (Hons) in public administration from Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia, and a Masters in labour relations and human resources from Cleveland State University, Ohio. Currently, she is pursuing her doctoral degree at Murdoch University, Australia. Her research interests include human capital development, human resources, and employment.

Dr. Antonia Girardi

Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Business and Information Technology, Murdoch Business School, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia

Dr. Antonia Girardi is an associate professor in management at Murdoch University, Australia. She obtained her BCom (Hons) and PhD from the University of Western Australia, Australia. Her research interests lie in the areas of strategic HRM, job design, intellectual capital management, benefits and remuneration management, employer branding, and organisational change. Her work is published in national and international journals and has been presented at conferences in the U.S., Europe, and Australia.

Dr. Megan Paull

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Business, and Information Technology, Murdoch Business School, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia

Dr. Megan Paull is a senior lecturer in management at Murdoch University, Australia. She is currently the associate dean of learning and teaching in the Murdoch Business School. Megan teaches in the areas of human resource management and organisational behaviour. A mainly qualitative researcher, her research interests are in the fields of volunteering, nonprofits and organisational behaviour, including when behaviour is not so “good”.

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