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Effect of the Group Culture on the Leadership Opportunities for Female Engineering Students in Korea

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

WIED Poster Session

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.534.1 - 22.534.10



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Paper Authors


Myongsook Susan Oh Hongik University

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B.S. in Chemical Engineering, UC, Berkeley.
Sc.D. in Chemical Engineering, MIT.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Texaco, Inc.
Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Hongik University in Korea.

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Yookyung Bae Seoul National University, Institute for Gender Research

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B.A. in Sociology at Ewha Women's University in Seoul, Korea,
M.A. in Sociology at Ewha Women's University in Seoul, Korea
M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas, Austin
Ph.D. Candidate in Gender Studies at Seoul National University, Korea.

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Effect of the group culture on the leadership opportunities for female engineering students inKorea. Korean female engineering students are not only exposed to the male dominated culture ofengineering, but they are also disadvantaged by the culture which values the seniority by age.With the mandatory military duty, most male college students take their military break afterfreshman or sophomore year. When they return to college, they are two or 3 years order thantheir female classmates. As an older group, male students take it granted that they take leadingrole in most activities in campus, depriving leadership opportunities from female students.Leadership is often pointed out as a quality that lacks in female engineers in industries.A survey was taken in a Korean engineering collage to investigate the leadership experience andthe leadership competency of male and female students. Total of 782 students from 8 differentmajors participated in the survey, and 37.3% of them were females. The survey questioned howstudents perceive this unique group culture, especially the decision making process in variousgroup activities, such as in the department student association, student clubs, and projects teams,and how well they are adapted to the process and the culture. Leadership opportunities and theleadership competence were then correlated with the perception of the group culture.Most male and female students were fairly comfortable with the culture they were exposed.Although female students gave a slightly lower average score, both groups thought the decisionmaking process is democratic, and gave fairly high scores to their adaptability. It turned out thatleadership experiences were rather limited to most male and female students. As expected, theleadership competency was higher for male students. For the cause of lack of leadershipexperience, more female students from the junior and senior classes pointed out the male-dominated culture than the freshmen and sophomores, while male students attributed to theirpersonalities.

Oh, M. S., & Bae, Y. (2011, June), Effect of the Group Culture on the Leadership Opportunities for Female Engineering Students in Korea Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17815

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