Date Approved

7-10-2012

Date Posted

10-4-2012

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

College of Technology

Committee Member

Denise Pilato, PhD

Committee Member

John Dugger, PhD

Committee Member

Michael McVey, EdD

Committee Member

David Pistrui, PhD

Abstract

The United States needs workers with more than technical skills to meet the demands of global competition; more specifically, a new breed of engineer is necessary, one who possesses leadership skills and business acumen in addition to the technical engineering skills. One Midwestern foundation has recognized this challenge and is working with engineering universities to enhance programs to create entrepreneurially-minded engineers (EMEs). To this end, the Target Training International, Ltd. (TTI) Performance DNATM survey has been developed to measure the behaviors, values, and professional skills of these EMEs. Currently, the Foundation has collected data using this survey with engineering students and entrepreneurs; this research has examined the difference between practicing engineers and engineers who have attained a leadership role, or an EME.

This research examined the construct validity of the TTI survey and its ability to distinguish between engineers and entrepreneurially-minded engineers (EMEs). The survey was administered to engineers (by degree) working in the industry and distinguished the EMEs by self-reporting of their job title. Those in a leadership role or an entrepreneur were categorized as EMEs. The survey was able to distinguish between engineers and EMEs in both behavior and mastery of professional skills. The statistical analysis determined a significant difference between the two groups, separate from other demographic factors such as time on the job and graduate degree attainment. Ultimately, the results of this research will help engineering institutions create a better engineer for the purpose of leading innovation and creating economic strength in the United States. Recommendations for future research include comparing these data to those of other groups of practitioners in other countries, including student groups, and conducting longitudinal studies of students as they progress from freshmen to seniors.

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