Portland State University. School of Education.
Date of Award
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Public School Administration and Supervision
3, vii, 155 leaves: ill. 28 cm.
Electronic industries, Organizational change, Engineers
Purpose. This study investigated organizational development climate within the context of an organization experiencing rapid change in its environment resulting in employee knowledge obsolescence. Secondary purposes were: (1) determine current development methods and behavior; (2) identify preferred development methods; (3) examine the influence of educational background on development; (4) examine the influence length of service on development and (5) investigate reward preferences and their link to development. Procedure. The data were collected through a sample of 550 nonmanager engineers. The questionnaire consisted of individual background information and a modified version of the Work Description Questionnaire for Engineers (WDQE). Environment factors investigated were: (1) organization; (2) management and (3) peer support; (4) communication and involvement and (5) work assignments. Responses were obtained from 320 nonmanager engineers. A chi-square analysis tested hypotheses for education and length of service groups. Summary of Findings and Conclusions. (1) The engineering population differed significantly in their education and length of service backgrounds. (2) Knowledge foundation requirements for entry in the organization in the past five years have increased. (3) Non-degree development is more important for the majority, while degree development is important to bachelor-degreed and shorter length-of-service employees. (4) Reported non-degreed development averaged one course/seminar per year, 2-4 hours of independent reading per week and discussions within the immediate work group. Education groups reported significant differences in internal course/seminar participation and reading behavior. (5) The most effective development methods included a challenging job, reading, an advanced degree, courses/seminars, interdisciplinary teams and internal networking. Education groups showed significant differences for reading and interdisciplinary terms. (6) Primary barriers to development included time, cost, management and workload. (7) The work environment climate for development in the organization was moderate. Peer support received the highest rating; organization, management, and work assignments were rated moderately. (8) The most preferred rewards included salary/merit increases, achievement, advancement, recognition and challenging work. Education groups reported differences in preferred rewards. (9) Moderate opportunity for rewards occurred independent of development behavior. Education groups showed differences in opportunity for challenging work with improved development. Length of service groups reported differences for opportunity of rewards even with increased development.
Hubbard, Cheryl J., "Organizational development: an investigation into the knowledge obsolescence of engineers in the electronics industry" (1986). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 825.