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Engineering Technology Students: Their Role In The Global Economy

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Leadership and Administration in ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.579.1 - 11.579.9



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Paper Authors


Michael Whitt Purdue University

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Mike Whitt is currently an Assistant Professor of MET at Purdue University

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Rodney Handy Purdue University

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Rod Handy is currently an Associate Professor of MET at Purdue University

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Margaret Ratcliff Purdue University-Columbus/SE Indiana

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Technology Students: Their Role in the Global Economy Abstract

The percentage of United States employment in the manufacturing sector has been slowly deteriorating over the recent decades. Additionally, the GDP/capita ratio in the United States is not growing at the rate of other countries. This continuing trend does not bode well for the future domestic economy or future opportunities for technology students. An increase of entrepreneurial activities is one possible solution to the reversal of this trend. Technology students need to become more versed in the use of Design for Six Sigma techniques used to develop new innovative ideas in addition to the use of non traditional technology areas such as lead user methodology. Development of classroom techniques and programs where these fundamentals are transferred is of the utmost importance to future opportunities for the current technology student in the future global economy.

Educational goals include providing the students with the fundamental skills to make decisions in the role of the financial manager using financial statements. Additionally, students will be exposed to differing management philosophies within the global economy. For example a recent survey of 378 managers from five countries provided the following results when asked “Whose Company is it?” The % respondents answering (“The Shareholders”/”The Stakeholders”) for each country are listed as follows: Japan (3%/97%), Germany (17%/83%), France (22%/78%), United Kingdom (71%/29%), and the United States (76%/24%). The same managers were asked the question, “Which is important, jobs or paying dividends?” The respondents answering (“jobs”/”dividends”) were as follows: Japan (3%/97%), Germany (40%/60%), France (41%/59%), United Kingdom (89%/11%), and the United States (89%/11%). The importance of student understanding of these differing global perspectives will allow them to be more effective in their development of innovative products to compete in the global economy.


Some US based companies have been criticized for not being as innovative in their recent history as they were in their more distant past. For example, it has been reported that Ford being a company founded on innovation, has demonstrated a lack of creativity in its recent history. As a result Ford produced more vehicles in the year 2004 than consumers purchased resulting in excess inventory. This may lead to Ford having to reduce their workforce by approximately 30,000 jobs1 in coming years similar to General Motor’s (GM’s) planned workforce reduction of 30,000 workers by 2008.2 However, Ford is making strides to increase innovation by soliciting ideas from within.3

GM has recently set a financial goal of annual cost reductions of $14 billion using their 2005 revenues as the basis for this calculation. As a result their structural costs will be reduced from its current value of 34 percent to 25 percent of company revenues by 2010. Currently, their cost-to-revenue ratio in North America is higher than the 34 percent average.4

Whitt, M., & Handy, R., & Ratcliff, M. (2006, June), Engineering Technology Students: Their Role In The Global Economy Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1445

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