July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Women in Engineering
Calls for increased diversity in gender- and race-imbalanced occupations have gained prominence in recent years based on evidence of its benefits for both organizations and individuals. The presence of a non-conducive, unwelcoming work culture for women and minorities in engineering has received particular attention in the literature, bringing the subjects of cultural diversity and equal representation into focus. Gaining a better understanding of minoritized engineers’ adaptation dynamics and experiences may be critical for mitigating their alienation, dissatisfaction, and departure from the workplace. This research paper investigates differences in engineers’ acculturation mindsets and corresponding job outcomes by gender, race, education, and professional experience. Data for the study came from 502 engineering alumni of a large southwestern university who graduated within the past ten years and holding engineering jobs. Acculturation theory posits that the value a worker places on abiding by their personal values and fitting in at work, respectively, will influence their approach to workplace acculturation, which will, in turn, influence their more distal job outcomes such as job satisfaction. Participants were, therefore, asked to rate how important it was for them to retain their personal values (Importance-Personal) and be accepted by their coworkers (Importance-Belonging). A two-step cluster analysis was conducted to classify participants based on their responses to these two items. Differences in engineers’ acculturation attitudes between men and women, white men and white women, Asian and white men, graduate and undergraduate degree holders, and early and mid-career engineers were evaluated using Chi-square analyses. We used Odds Ratios to understand the directionality and the strengths of relations. Preliminary findings suggest that a four-cluster solution best represented the space of participants’ acculturation attitudes. Additionally, the distribution of demographic groups across clusters varied. For example, Women engineers were 2.1 times more likely to be in the Integration cluster and 0.4 times less likely to be in the Separation cluster and White engineers were 2.0 times more likely to be in the Separation cluster than non-Whites. The results demonstrate that engineers with different acculturation preferences demonstrate different acculturation attitudes. These insights can help employers, educators, and researchers gain a better understanding of the dynamics underlying acculturation in engineering workplaces and may inform interventions for increasing the satisfaction and retention of underrepresented groups, who are most likely to leave engineering.
Abhyankar, R., & Brunhaver, S. R. (2021, July), Exploring the Relationships between Acculturation Attitudes and Demographic Characteristics in Engineering Workplaces Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37159
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015