Discipline in the university context: measurement and associations with competitiveness and productivity
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 21:21 by Hana Krskova
The role of discipline in achieving higher academic and workplace performance is receiving increasing attention, however, research into student discipline has been predominantly centred on schools. Research to date in the university sector has focused on a single country (the United States) and has utilised a definition of academic discipline with reference to schools and school work. Furthermore, research into the links between student discipline, individual competitiveness and productivity has been limited. This thesis is novel in that it investigates the role of student discipline in the university sector from three angles. Firstly, it examines how university students from multiple faculties and at different stages of their academic progression understand and define discipline in higher education. Secondly, it explores the construct of discipline in university context in multiple countries. Thirdly, it illuminates the impact of discipline on individual competitiveness and individual productivity. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with students at Macquarie University in Sydney to gain a better understanding of the concept of discipline and five main themes emerged: 'focus', 'intention', 'responsibility', 'structure' and 'time' (F.I.R.S.T.). Subsequently, a quantitative instrument was developed and administered to a sample of current students and recent graduates from China, South Korea and the United States. The data were analysed to probe for country as well as gender-related similarities and differences. The effects of discipline, high parental expectations, the degree of importance discipline played in their school education and participation in sport and music on the levels of individual competitiveness and productivity were also investigated. This thesis puts forward a new concept of discipline, underpinned by a theoretical principles of Self-determination, Goal-setting, Self-efficacy, Self-regulation and Time management. This novel concept of discipline holds across the multi-country sample under examination. A new 'Threshold of Discipline', a hierarchical four-layered concept that develops over time for every individual with the ultimate level being 'creative discipline', is also presented. The findings show that increasing individual levels of discipline can lead to a more competitive and productive workforce.