A policy inquiry into the development of Business Studies within the curriculum in England focussing on the transmission of implicit and explicit values within ‘A’ Level and GNVQ Advanced Business Studies

  • Maxine Wells

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis identifies the nature of the values that students hold about business and whether they are acquired through education; the uniformity of the transmission/communication process is addressed. The study traces the views of policy makers and teachers in the policy chain, interviews students and observes classroom interactions in a longitudinal study. The research has been conducted at a time of increasing student numbers on Business Studies courses and during an ongoing debate about the sources of values students hold about business. A distinction is drawn between the values intrinsic to AngloAmerican capitalism and the values that students espouse enabling insight as to whether students are taught and hold AngloAmerican capitalist values or not. Other sources of values such as gender and students’ parttime jobs are considered. Seven policy makers (individuals influencing the creation of the ‘hidden’ or ‘overt’ curriculum) and four groups comprising ‘A’ level and GNVQ Advanced in Business Studies students and their respective teachers participated in the research. The study draws the following conclusions: students, typically, see profit as the primary business objective and this view is framed by the values intrinsic to AngloAmerican capitalism, with other values such as customer service seen as ‘instrumental’ in the pursuit of profitability. Values intrinsic to AngloAmerican capitalism were not directly being transmitted down the policy chain; however, work socialisation values were. The students were able to distinguish between their own personal values and those of business organisations; their personal values often conflicted with those of business. Factors extraneous to education, for example, students’ parttime jobs appear to have a greater influence over their knowledge of business values than that of their teachers. The students often expressed scepticism at business activities, despite no clear evidence that teachers ‘transmit’ antibusiness sentiments. Gender had some influence on the values that students held.
Date of Award1 Dec 2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorHugh Lauder (Supervisor)


  • Values
  • Business
  • Transmission
  • Gender
  • Capitalism
  • education

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