Students’ Perspective into the Apathy and Social Disconnectedness They Feel in Undergraduate Business Classrooms

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Apathy and social disconnectedness among undergraduate business students remain poorly understood and under-researched—despite evidence that they produce an adverse impact on learning-related outcomes. Qualitative research was initially conducted among a sample of undergraduate business students to identify the antecedents and learning-related consequences of apathy and social disconnectedness, develop grounded definitions, hypotheses, and scales. This was followed by a survey that aimed to test a conceptual model that emerged from qualitative data. The study finds evidence to suggest that high levels of anxiety among students antecedes social disconnectedness and powerlessness, which trigger apathy or the lack of caring about being a student or attending college. These psychosocial problems are severe enough, the study finds, to adversely impact the quality of students’ learning experiences. Implications for new thinking and research are discussed, and implications for improving instruction are derived from the findings.


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