This study was conducted with Thai students enrolled in undergraduate programs for industrial and technical education. Volunteer participants responded to surveys designed to elicit their personal goal orientations and their preferences regarding the thinking style of a competent professional, that is, a manager or supervisor. Participants (N = 729) completed an achievement goal survey and a Ways of Knowing survey, modified and translated from English into Thai. Statistical analysis of data showed several significant findings. Thai male students were more performance-oriented than Thai female students. An increase in mastery orientation among both males and females was associated with an increased preference for the development of both ‘separate’ or ‘argumentation’ and ‘connected’ or ‘empathic’ thinking styles in a professional. An increase in performance orientation among students was not associated with a preference for the development of these competencies. These findings are interpreted in terms of socio-cognitive theory and they establish a link between motivational constructs in social psychology and concepts of competency in vocational and technical education.
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