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Technology, Culture And The Manufacturing Engineer: How Studying Sme’s In Cambodia Can Teach Manufacturing Students About Global Enterprise

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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

Advancing Manufacturing Education Through Outreach and Collaboration

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Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1242.1 - 11.1242.9



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Paper Authors

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Val Hawks Brigham Young University

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Michael Miles Brigham Young University

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

Technology, Culture and the Manufacturing Engineer: How studying SME’s in Cambodia can help teach manufacturing students about global enterprise Introduction

In his book “The World is Flat”, Thomas Friedman describes what he calls “the quiet crisis” as the “erosion of America’s science and engineering base, which has always been the source of America’s innovation and our standard of living.” [1] The crisis is the increasing penetration of global competition on the economic output of the United States, now an issue to which engineering education is paying serious attention. However, it is not a crisis of just technical issues. What is needed with respect to global learning and experience is more than just technical competence and expertise. Bill Wulf said “…engineering is now practiced in a global, holistic business context, and engineers must design under constraints that reflect that context. In the future, understanding other cultures, speaking other languages, and communicating with people from marketing and finance will be just as fundamental to the practice of engineering as physics and calculus.” [2] For faculty and students and BYU, a recent project of studying manufacturing in Cambodia also became a study of Cambodian history, government, and culture. As a result it became, for both students and faculty, a learning experience in the broader, more holistic context of manufacturing, engineering, technology, and global issues.

Rationale and Organization of the Learning Experience

The Manufacturing Engineering Technology program at BYU has been increasing its focus on global aspects of engineering and technology for several years. Our goal is to provide more effective opportunities for faculty and students to gain an awareness of, knowledge about, and experience in issues and opportunities of international business and global manufacturing. One of the primary areas of focus is locating and organizing international internships for undergraduate and graduate students, while at the same time working to provide opportunities for faculty to stay abreast of the global issues. Our internship effort has taken two approaches: one focuses on arranging 4-6 month paid internships with companies located in various countries, primarily in Asia. The other approach, and the one used for the work described in this paper, focuses on collaborative learning for faculty and students and takes a broader view of the overall environment for manufacturing-type companies, primarily in developing countries.

A summary of the two approaches, in terms of requirements and characteristics, is given below: Company Focused In-depth experience in company processes, operation. Management and faculty time requirement minimal. Insight is gained into company issues in globalization such as material acquisition, capacity planning, supply chain, quality, educational challenges, etc. Company pays expenses of students and provides modest salary.

Country Focused Broader experience in sector/country issues, problems and opportunities. Contribution to sector/country.

Hawks, V., & Miles, M. (2006, June), Technology, Culture And The Manufacturing Engineer: How Studying Sme’s In Cambodia Can Teach Manufacturing Students About Global Enterprise Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--137

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