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Exploring Relationships Between Persons of Influence, Self-Efficacy, and Motivation Among Male and Female Construction Management Students

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Development of Collaborative Skills in Construction Education

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Page Count


Page Numbers

26.732.1 - 26.732.14



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Paper Authors


Melissa K. Thevenin Colorado State University

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Melissa Thevenin is a graduate assistant in the Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education and Human Resource Studies with a specialization in Education Sciences. Her research focuses on academic performance and retention in construction education, and she is passionate about increasing the participation of women and minorities in the industry. Melissa has a M.S. in Construction Management from Colorado State University and a B.S. in Construction Management and Engineering Technologies from Purdue University Calumet. She has ten years of experience in construction, including six years as a purchasing system manager for a production home builder in northwest Indiana.

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Jonathan Weston Elliott Colorado State University

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Jon Elliott is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University. He has Ph.D. in Education and Human Resource Studies and an M.S. in Construction Management from Colorado State University, as well as a B.S. degree in Construction Management from Pennsylvania College of Technology. His research focuses on construction education and training opportunities, emphasizing construction-based workforce development. He has contributed to, and developed curriculum for, construction management training programs in Mexico, Egypt, and Tunisia. He is passionate about connecting underrepresented and unemployed populations with sustainable employment opportunities in the construction industry. Jon has over five years of experience in construction and his commercial project management experience focused on core and shell office building projects and historic building restoration/rehabilitation in Washington DC

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Influence of Others on Male and Female Students’ Construction Education Domain Self-Efficacy and MotivationResearchers posit that persistence and achievement in STEM programs are related to students’self-efficacy beliefs. Vicarious experiences and verbal persuasions are often reported as sourcesof self-efficacy for women in non-traditional fields, and previous studies have observed apositive relationship between the influence of others and academic motivation. Research alsosuggests differences between men and women concerning how self-efficacy and motivationinfluence academic choice and performance in traditionally male-dominated fields.The existence of a role model or mentor has been shown to influence student’s self-efficacy andmotivation. These constructs were adapted to the construction education domain in a surveyinstrument that was administered to 587 students enrolled in construction management courses atthree universities. Mentors and role models were defined in this study as “persons of influence”on a respondent’s academic decisions; mentors give advice and support, whereas role modelsprovide inspiration.For male students, the mean levels of self-efficacy and motivation were significantly higher forthose who reported having a person of influence, versus those who did not (p = 0.000 for bothconstructs). The mean level of motivation was also significantly higher for female students witha person of influence versus those without (p = 0.017). While the mean level of self-efficacy wasalso higher for female students with a person of influence than females without a person ofinfluence (p = 0.175), the difference was not significant at the 0.05 level.Results indicate that having a person of influence was significantly and positively correlated withstudents’ construction education self-efficacy and motivation (r = 0.21, p < 0.001 and r = 0.26,p < 0.001, respectively). When data were stratified by gender, the correlation between having aperson of influence and motivation toward construction education remain significant and positivefor female (r = 0.31, p < 0.05) and male students (r = 0.26, p < 0.001). However, while having aperson of influence was significant and positively correlated with construction education self-efficacy for males (r = 0.22, p < 0.001), the correlation was positive but not significant at the0.05 level for females (r = 0.18, p = 0.175).Perceived self-efficacy, motivation, and the presence of mentors and role models have value aspredictors of career choice and student success. This paper contributes to the body of knowledgeby increasing the understanding of the influence of others on students’ academic performancewithin the construction education domain. Demographic characteristics of mentors and rolemodels are reported and cross-tabulation of the data by students’ gender are discussed.Conclusions, application of the results, and opportunities for continued research are presented.

Thevenin, M. K., & Elliott, J. W. (2015, June), Exploring Relationships Between Persons of Influence, Self-Efficacy, and Motivation Among Male and Female Construction Management Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24069

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015