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The Role Of Education In The Progression From Technologist To General Manager

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Experiential and Service Learning

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1460.1 - 12.1460.19

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Paper Authors

author page

Larry Bland John Brown University

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

The Role of Education in the Progression from Technologist to General Manager: A Qualitative Study


A qualitative research study addressing looking at educational interventions in the career development of engineers moving from technologist to general manager. For this study “education” is defined on a four-part continuum of formal, non-formal, informal, and incidental/experiential. Formal and non-formal education is an intentional and systematic enterprise while informal and experiential education results in learning but learning is not the basic purpose of an activity.

This research revealed 1) the pattern of learning interventions along the educational continuum is different for those engineers that made a successful transition versus those that did not. The learning for a successful transition was weighted toward the experiential end of the continuum. 2) The key educational content for those engineers who made a successful transition is multidisciplinary. And 3) this multidisciplinary education takes place early in a career. When looking at the ABET criteria 3d, “ability to function on multidisciplinary teams,” this career path and educational study indicates that we should define multidisciplinary as integration along functional areas of engineering, marketing, sales, finance, manufacturing, purchasing, etc.


Prospective engineering students and their parents visit colleges and universities trying to determine the best place for the student to attend and how to prepare that student for a career. It is common to hear questions such as: Will my child receive a good education here? What is the job market like? Will there be jobs available when they graduate? How will engineering careers be impacted by international outsourcing?

As students graduate they often add additional questions: Will I enjoy my job? Will I do well in my job? What kind of career progression should I expect? Will I always be an engineer or should I consider moving into management?

History has shown that many of engineering students will take a career path that begins in a technology position and moves into a general management position. Engineering educators should be interested in the role that education plays in that transition. Therefore, this paper addresses the research question: What role does education, in its various forms, play in the successful transition of an individual from technologist to general manager?

This paper will: provide definitions for general management and educational learning continuum that bounded the research, outline the research process, summarize the results, identify the emergent theory, and finally state areas of application and continued research.

Bland, L. (2007, June), The Role Of Education In The Progression From Technologist To General Manager Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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