June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Engineering Leadership Development Division
26.1447.1 - 26.1447.13
Surveying industry needs for leadership in entry-level engineering positionsIndustry is expecting engineering students to graduate with both strong technical skills andstrong leadership skills that they can apply in the companies they join.Prior research. Recent research has demonstrated wide-ranging meanings with regard to howcompanies define leadership. Using qualitative research methods in an earlier study, we foundthat personnel from engineering companies involved with hiring define “leadership” bycategorizing it into five main themes or competencies: initiative/confidence, communication,interpersonal interaction, teamwork, and engagement. Initiative/confidence is defined as“stepping up” or “going that extra step” while having or showing confidence. Communication isexplained as displaying proficiency in written, oral, non-verbal, and listening. Interpersonalinteraction means to build healthy relationships by relating to and working with others on a one-on-one basis. Teamwork is described as one’s ability to work in a group, collaborate in a teamsetting, and understand group dynamics. Finally, engagement is defined as development of selfthrough participation in extracurricular and volunteer activities.Methodology. This study extends the prior research by developing and validating a surveyinstrument based on these five themes. The survey contributes to our understanding of theengineering industry’s needs for leadership competencies in their new hires. The prior researcheffort involved interviews of human resources and engineering personnel at six engineeringcompanies. Here, this survey is distributed to over 300 engineering companies to expand ourunderstanding of the industry’s needs.Results. Findings from this survey will inform engineering educators about leadershipcompetencies of which they should focus while better preparing our students to for entry-levelpositions in engineering.Implications. The results of this research can inform the efforts of all engineering educators thatstrive to embed leadership development into the engineering courses. With this researcheducators will know what expectations for leadership skills their students will encounter in theirentry-level positions after graduation. Further, engineering programs will be able to betterarticulate the leadership skills their students are developing and educate potential employers onboth the technical and leadership education their students are gaining in their courses. Finally,employers will benefit from hiring engineering graduates who are better prepared for theleadership expectations in the entry-level positions.
Hartmann, B. L., & Stephens, C., & Jahren, C. T. (2015, June), Surveying Industry Needs for Leadership in Entry-level Engineering Positions Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24784
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