Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The value of IT skills certification in selection processes and professional development—an empirical study based on perceptions of IT professionals
by Scheck, Torsten, M.Sc., University of Glamorgan (Wales) (United Kingdom), 2007, 125; 1459616
Abstract (Summary)

Product- and technology-specific IT skills certifications are increasingly recognised as an instrument which supports the effective management of organisational selection processes and professional development. However, only few academics have examined the organisational and personal value of certification, so far. Furthermore, their research focused on different aspects of certification use or yielded conflicting findings. Therefore, this work aimed to capture all relevant aspects and to produce authoritative findings which are relevant for both researchers and practitioners.

Founded on related literature and previous research a model of certification value in the organisational context was elaborated. Considering the importance of an agreement on certification value, it was decided that the model first needed to be confirmed by perceptions of IT professionals using a survey strategy. An ideal certification programme was given to ensure that the respondents' perceptions wouldn't be influenced by concrete certification programmes and their deficiencies.

It was hypothesised that the respondents would generally confirm each of the model's proposed use situations and that there wouldn't be significant differences in the perceptions of respondent groups determined by certification status, personnel responsibility and attitude towards certification.

According to this research framework an online-questionnaire was created. The questionnaire was completed by 92 members from the national and regional electronic mailing lists of a German professional association of system administrators. The quantitative data was supplemented by 41 electronic messages from 22 individual participants, which were extracted from the electronic group discussions triggered by the survey.

The analysis of the quantitative data showed a strong influence of the moderator ‘attitude towards certification’ on the acceptance of an ideal certification programme's use. Respondents from the negative attitude group tended to disagree significantly more often to all certification related statements than those of the positive attitude group.

This unexpected result led to twofold conclusions. Based on the responses of the positive attitude group most of the proposed model's elements could be confirmed and the findings might allow further refinement of the model. The particularly controversial use situations involved certification as job requirement or the organisational use of certification tests.

The qualitative data from the electronic discussions revealed that the deficiencies of current certification programmes are not the only reason for the respondents' adverseness. It's the concept of certification in general which is being refused for various reasons. To achieve an agreement on certification value among all involved parties, the organisational use of certification might need to be made more transparent and comprehensible.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Colebourne, David
School: University of Glamorgan (Wales) (United Kingdom)
School Location: Wales
Source: MAI 47/02M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational tests & measurements, Management, Computer science
Keywords: Applicant perceptions, Certification value, Educational measurement, IT skills, Personnel selection, Professional certification
Publication Number: 1459616
ISBN: 978-0-549-87732-5
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