Repository logo

Economics education and value change: The role of program-normative homogeneity and peer influence

Accepted version



Change log


Racko, G 
Strauss, K 


In the light of corporate scandals and the recent financial crisis, there has been an increased interest in the impact of business education on the value orientations of graduates. Yet our understanding of how students' values change during their time at business school is limited. In this study,weinvestigate the effects of variations in the normative orientations of economics programs. We argue that interaction among economics students constitutes a key mechanism of value socialization, the effects of which are likely to vary across more-or-less normatively homogeneous economics programs. In normatively homogeneous programs, students are particularly likely to adopt economics values as a result of peer interaction. We specifically explore changes in power, hedonism, and self-direction values in a 2-year longitudinal study of economics students (N 5 197) in a normatively homogeneous and two normatively heterogeneous economics programs. As expected, for students in a normatively homogeneous economics program, interaction with peers was linked with an increase in power and hedonism values, and a decrease in self-direction values. Our findings highlight the interplay between program normative homogeneity and peer interaction as an important factor in value socialization during economics education and have important practical implications for business school leaders.



economics education, management education, value change, peer influence, academic socialization, value socialization, normative impact of education, homo economicus

Journal Title

Academy of Management Learning and Education

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Academy of Management