Department

Leadership

Date of Paper/Work

3-26-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Dissertation

Advisors

Donald R. LaMagdeleine, Ph.D., David Rigoni, Ed.D., Ronald Bennett, Ph.D.

Abstract

One of the goals of this study was to pose the engineering role in a way that allows engineers to understand the impact that professional requirements have on their career. For engineers making medical devices, requirements come from three principal sources, professional engineering, regulatory agencies, and their own organization. Engineering requires an application of knowledge in technology, mathematics and science; and the application of "gut judgment". When knowledge and judgment come together in their practice engineers achieve "artistry". Regulatory requirements from FDA or ISO must be fulfilled. Finally, organizational requirements must also be met, for it is to the organization that engineers contract their labor to receive payment for their work.

When fulfilling the requirements from all sources, engineers follow an honorable way of making a living, and importantly they get to enact on a regular basis, within their organization, the key points of what it is to be an engineer. This is how engineers gather a "moral career", a term conceptualized and described by Ervin Goffman. Additionally, I used the term professional/reflective practice, as described by Donald Schön, to present the salient features of engineering.

By posing the engineering profession in this manner, it will help engineers and future engineers make better decisions about their career. It is important to do their "due diligence" when contemplating working for an organization and ask about the life-cycle stage on those products they will be working with. Engineers should be allowed to use their judgement to make the difficult call on technical and science matters and it is important to understand the organization’s commitment to this. By having this knowledge, engineers learn how not to be a victim because in many organizations, engineers are often "thrown to the dogs" because they are untrained on how to think as the leaders of the organization do and become easy victims.

This study also shows a direct connection between a product’s life-cycle stage and the conditions of the engineer’s practice. During the growth stage, great satisfaction and autonomy prevail. However, with product maturity and decline, dissatisfaction and a substantial curtailing of autonomy appeared.

Keywords

professional engineer, product life cycle, career of engineers, engineering a technical device, medical device engineers, moral career in engineering

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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