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What Do Employers Want In Terms Of Employee Knowledge Of Technical Standards And The Process Of Standardization?

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Standards For Future Engineering Practitioners

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1364.1 - 15.1364.12



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Paper Authors

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Bruce Harding Purdue University

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Paul McPherson Purdue University

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


Abstract Products and processes considered everyday conveniences would not be possible without standardization. That standardization making today’s technology possible was developed over the last few decades by practitioners, many of whom are on the brink of retirement. Consequently, a growing concern exists among standards practitioners and standards developing organizations (SDOs) alike as to the source of the next generation of standards expertise. Over the last decade standards developing organizations and educational institutions alike endeavored to foster standards education by developing multidisciplinary curricula directed toward advanced education on standardization. While studies have been initiated within academia to determine the current use of standards in the classroom, numerous impediments remain to growing this area of education. The study discussed in this paper was undertaken in 2009 by Purdue University to determine both the demand by industry for engineering practitioners possessing standardization expertise prior to employment, and also the interest in industrial collaboration with local colleges and universities to establish courses on standardization. This paper presents the results based on industry segments. These include alternative energy, automotive, aerospace, computers and electronics, construction, medical, military/ government and health/public safety.

Standards in practice today

Practitioners of the ‘baby boomer’ generation are generally the standardization experts of today. As that generation begins to retire, there seems to be waning interest among recent engineering or technology graduates to fill the looming void in standardization expertise.

Despite the daily interaction humans have with standardized products or processes, rarely is the time taken to consider the various standards that form the foundation of products and process development, let alone why such requirements are even necessary. For example, without standardization, telephony among cellular phones across different carriers would simply not be possible. Yet even among technical users, the assumption is that phones will just work -- society simply takes it for granted. Is this lack of knowledge about the importance of standardization hindering both new creation and innovation within American companies? In order for innovation to occur, it is imperative that one not just accept items at face value, but rather continually question the specifications and processes that go into developing such items. Despite this apparent lack of interest, standards continue to affect every aspect of today’s society and economy, from basic electronic devices, to the financial sector, and global trade.

Harding, B., & McPherson, P. (2010, June), What Do Employers Want In Terms Of Employee Knowledge Of Technical Standards And The Process Of Standardization? Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16474

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