Engineering As A Social Activity: Preparing Engineers To Thrive In The Changing World Of Work

Fredricka F. Joyner, Derek T.Y. Mann, Todd Harris


Key macro-trends are combining to create a new work context for the practice of engineering.  Telecommuting and virtual teams create myriad possibilities and challenges related to managing work and workers.  Social network technology tools allow for unprecedented global, 24/7 collaboration.  Globalization has created hyper-diverse organizations, magnifying the possibility for both generative creativity and destructive conflict.  A growing body of research makes it clear that effectiveness in the changing world of work requires thinking differently and working differently.  There is an emerging consensus that socio-cultural competence is an essential addition to the technical competence that has traditionally been identified as critical for engineers.  Related to this, the value added to the work of engineering by the development of emotional intelligence (EI) competencies is gaining attention in the professional and the educational engineering literature.  This paper describes a program for integrating emotional intelligence content into the curriculum in order to better prepare graduates to add value to their organizations and experience personal success working in the new normal.  It also discusses the findings from a multi-year research study that measured the results of the program.


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