Dignity during work-integrated learning: what does it mean for supervisors and students?

Olivia King, Corinne Davis, Allie Clemans, Jan Coles, Paul Crampton, Nicky Jacobs, Tui McKeown, Julia Morphet, Kate Seear, Charlotte Rees*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Work-integrated learning (WIL) is increasingly common in higher education, with benefits and risks for students and supervisors’ wellbeing. Central to wellbeing is dignity, often described as the respectful treatment of others. While studies have explored dignity for employees, it is yet to be examined in the WIL context. This qualitative study explores 46 student and 30 supervisors' understandings of WIL dignity. Using purposive sampling, supervisors and students from 6 disciplines participated in 7 groups and 58 individual semi-structured interviews. Participants were asked to describe their understandings of workplace dignity and data were analysed using team-based framework analysis. Four themes were identified: (1) participants' difficulties articulating dignity; (2) concepts used to define dignity; (3) the valence of conceptualisations; and (4) the levels to which dignity were conceptualised. Both students and supervisors need to work together to better understand what dignity is as the crucial first step toward maximising dignity during WIL.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Aug 2019


  • dignity
  • students
  • supervisors
  • Work-integrated learning (WIL)
  • workplace learning

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