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Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 22, 2011

Proceedings of the Twenty-Second Annual Meeting

Svenja Tams, Paul Caulfield, Darius Nedjati-Gilani
Pages 502-510
DOI: 10.5840/iabsproc20112247

In the Service of Many Masters
Do the Plural Logics of Service Learning Influence Individual Learning?

This paper examines the influence of service learning as a pragmatic skills-based teaching intervention. Conceptually, it builds on literature, legitimizing service learning in terms of four educational logics– civic engagement, practical relevance, skill development, and responsibility. We investigate whether service learning can always achieve this broad range of educational objectives, in view of students being increasingly exposed to a logic of ‘educational performance’, which they may perceive to be in conflict with the logics of 'civic engagement' and ‘responsibility’. The theoretical part of this paper reviews the evolution of service learning literature and summarizes insights from experiential learning literature. We also report findings from a controlled field experiment with postgraduate management students. We find that service learning influences students’ self-assessment of management skills and awareness stakeholder needs. Surprisingly, our findings provide no evidence for its influence on attitudes to responsibility.

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