Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Engineering Management Division 3: Teaching and Learning in Engineering Management
As organizations become increasingly diverse and focused on knowledge generation (Caspersen, 2002; Nicotera, 2020), decision makers desire for their organizational members to possess interpersonal communication skills for collaborating with supervisors and coworkers (Garner & Barnes, 2013). Among those interpersonal communication skills that decision makers find most desirable and important for organizational success is the ability to recognize, manage, and negotiate conflict (Keyton et al., 2013; Meredith, Shafer, & Mantel, 2018). As engineering students develop their technical expertise through undergraduate coursework and professional experience, activities in technical student organizations, it is also vitally important to students’ professional prospects and personal well-being to develop proficient conflict negotiation skills (Meredith et al., 2018). In addition, such skills become necessary when students work on their own capstone design projects in teams in the engineering Project Management (Capstone Projects I) and the subsequent Capstone Projects (Capstone Projects II) courses at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Using ABET’s student outcomes as an impetus for this investigation, a series of conflict negotiation training materials have been developed. These materials include a two-hour workshop, a Power-Point presentation with audio for students to utilize outside the classroom, as well as case studies to immerse students in realistic workplace conflict situations where they will have an opportunity to practice skills in negotiating conflict. This paper focuses on the designed and developed training material that are to be incorporated in senior-level Engineering Project Management and Capstone Projects courses at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The authors have conducted a quasi-experimental study assessing engineering students’ attitudes toward conflict and their conflict negotiation skills at two points in time. First, in the Project Management course the students were assessed for their tolerance for disagreement, tendency to take conflict personally, and their conflict negotiation skills, within the first two weeks of the semester. Second, students participated in a workshop about conflict and strategies for constructively negotiating conflict with their team members. Third, students’ tolerance for disagreement, tendency to take conflict personally, and their conflict negotiation skills were, once again, assessed. Control group was the Capstone Projects Team who have had a chance to work with their team for a semester who had not been exposed to the developed Negotiating Conflict training materials. The conflict negotiation workshop as well as other training material designed to immerse students into the topics and situations of conflict and negotiation resulted in high levels of cognitive learning among engineering students, which is expected to make these students more effective and competitive in the contemporary job market.
Sollitto, M., & Mehrubeoglu, M. (2020, June), Incorporating Conflict Negotiation Training in a Senior Engineering Project Management (Capstone Projects I) Course Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34805
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