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Self-Efficacy, Motivation, and Locus of Control Among Male and Female Construction Management Students

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Assessment in Construction Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1077.1 - 24.1077.9



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Paper Authors


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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Carla Lopez Del Puerto Colorado State University Orcid 16x16

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Gender Differences in Self-Efficacy, Motivation, and Locus of Control Among Construction Management StudentsWomen are underrepresented in the construction industry and in construction educationprograms. Only 12% of all construction workers and 8-10% of all students enrolled inundergraduate construction management programs are female. The construction industry has apoor reputation regarding female inclusion, while simultaneously suffering from a lack of skilledlabor. Researchers posit that women have not been welcomed into construction, even thoughthey represent the largest untapped source of skilled and trainable labor available to the field. Itis clear that inclusion of females would benefit the construction industry.A first step toward increasing female participation in construction education programs, andultimately construction employment, is to understand gender-based differences amongconstruction management students. In term of the psychological constructs, self-efficacy, locusof control, and motivation have been shown to influence human behavior and performance ineducational settings. These constructs were adapted to the construction domain in a surveyinstrument that was administered among 247 students participating in construction managementclasses at two universities. The mean levels of self-efficacy and locus of control weresignificantly lower for females than males (p = 0.004 and p = 0.014 respectively). While themean level of motivation was also lower for females (p = 0.089), the difference was notstatistically significant at the 0.05 level.Results suggest that female students were less confident in their abilities regarding constructioneducation and were more likely to express an external locus of control. Low levels of self-efficacy and motivation, as well as an external locus of control, have been linked in previousresearch to poor performance in educational settings. Results underscore the need for strategiesthat boost self-efficacy and motivation among female construction management students.Implication for increasing female participation in construction education as well as opportunitiesfor further research are discussed. This paper contributes to the body of knowledge by increasingunderstanding of some of the barriers to increasing enrollment of female students in constructioneducation programs.     

Elliott, J. W., & Lopez Del Puerto, C. (2014, June), Self-Efficacy, Motivation, and Locus of Control Among Male and Female Construction Management Students Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23010

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