Much has been written in academic and popular publications about organizational change. Topics have ranged from case studies to anecdotal stories of how leaders can change an organization. There is little written on changing the culture and vision of a profession at the macro level.
This dissertation shows that one key to effecting change within a profession is to educate those at the entrant level and thereby effect change with the profession. Over time, these new entrants to the profession will rise to senior positions and be able to effect greater change through the hiring, training, and mentoring processes inherent in the professions and the organizations for which they work. One way to effect change in these entrants is through education in college and professional schools. This study is specifically focused on effecting change in the interdisciplinary field of engineering and public policy. Public policy involves countless infrastructure issues at all levels of government. Engineers are well-versed in dealing with the technical issues of infrastructure but their voice is often lacking at the policy level. Similarly, political scientists are well-versed in policy but are often lacking in a thorough understanding of the technical aspects of the policy.
Through an introductory course in engineering and public policy, undergraduate students from the seemingly disparate fields of engineering and political science were placed in a common classroom and through lectures, writings, presentations, and guided discussions their attitudes on key areas were changed. Areas studied were professional interest, legitimacy, deference, the public policy process, and education outside of a specific field. Through the process of education, changes in each of these areas was possible. Further, the movement was towards making students in each discipline more open to the input, opinions, and attitudes of others, and specifically in shifting engineers toward a more positive view of the public policy process. Being exposed to these topics and to each other’s thought processes, changes in professional attitudes were made.
While there is not a specific profession for which any research has been done, the military is used, in places, as an analog to the profession of engineering.
|Advisor:||Emison, Gerald A.|
|Commitee:||French, Philip E., Shaffer, Stephen D., Travis, Rick|
|School:||Mississippi State University|
|Department:||Political Science and Public Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- Mississippi|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Engineering, Public policy, Organization Theory, Organizational behavior, Science education|
|Keywords:||Engineering and public policy, Engineering education, Lewin, Organizational theory, Public policy|
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