An Analysis of Tolerance for Change Related to Gender and Discipline

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A comparative analysis of tolerance for change (ambiguity) related to gender and/or discipline (field) of study. Review of the literature indicated a lack of current data concerning said tolerance for ambiguity related to gender and to field of study. Many public and private universities/colleges in the United States are experiencing trends toward a growing majority of females in their student populations. Thus, it is evermore necessary to recognize and to appreciate tolerance for ambiguity (change) among student populations. Primary data was gathered through a self-administered questionnaire survey of 200 college students, i.e. 100 in Business and 100 in Performing Arts (Conservatory) at a 140-year old private university in the Mideastern United States. This was an undergraduate course-based term project that was done on a faculty-student collaborative basis to illustrate variances in tolerance for change (ambiguity) among male versus female students together with its relationship(s) to selected field of study. Application of the "tolerance for ambiguity" scale indicated whether these students were comfortable with uncertainty, rapid change, new situations, and inconsistent experiences. Results provide useful information for advising and/or mentoring students about vocational choices, personal competencies, and goal setting. Derived insights are both telling and worthwhile for faculty, administrators, and staff who seek to implement changes/improvements in organizational procedures, policies, operating conditions and rules, schedules, course or degree requirements, and graduation standards. Methodology used in this effort is applicable to an array of courses across many disciplines. Where a desire exists for helping students to self-assess their tolerance for ambiguity (change), the survey questionnaire used herein may be employed as a self-assessment exercise to help students to gain improved understanding of their own competencies, and to better sense their respective comfort level for uncertainty, rapid change, and/or unfamiliar or new circumstances/situations.


Keywords: Tolerance for Change (Ambiguity), Teaching/Education Practice
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. James J. Wong

Professor, Department of Marketing & Management
Harry F. Byrd,Jr. School of Business, Shenandoah University

Winchester, Virginia, USA

First generation born in the USA. Work experiences have been about equally divided between (1) professional, as a chemical engineer, manager, executive, entrepreneur, and business consultant, and (2) academic, as a faculty member at an array of both private and public universities. Education includes a BSChE (Ohio University), MBA (Case Western Reserve University), and a Ph.D. in Business Organization (The Ohio State University). Between, 1995 to 1997 taught graduate business courses in the Pacific Rim, i.e. in Korea, Japan, Okinawa, and Guam. Since 2000 my courses within a classroom setting have been internet-enabled and paperless. Use of a hybrid format that integrates delivery of education through a combination of classroom (face-to-face) and internet (online) interactions is preferred.

Ref: I08P0755