National Academies Press: OpenBook

Support Organizations for the Engineering Community (1985)

Chapter: 3. The Industrial Sector

« Previous: 2. The Government Sector
Suggested Citation:"3. The Industrial Sector." National Research Council. 1985. Support Organizations for the Engineering Community. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/590.
Page 38
Suggested Citation:"3. The Industrial Sector." National Research Council. 1985. Support Organizations for the Engineering Community. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/590.
Page 39
Suggested Citation:"3. The Industrial Sector." National Research Council. 1985. Support Organizations for the Engineering Community. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/590.
Page 40
Suggested Citation:"3. The Industrial Sector." National Research Council. 1985. Support Organizations for the Engineering Community. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/590.
Page 41
Suggested Citation:"3. The Industrial Sector." National Research Council. 1985. Support Organizations for the Engineering Community. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/590.
Page 42

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

The Industrial Sector Because of the diversity and magnitude of the industry segment of the engineering community, the Industrial Sector Task Force used questionnaires to obtain a consensus regarding the needs of the engi- neer in industry. Five specific industry groups were included in the survey: ~l) aerospace, ~2~ aluminum ~metalprocessing~, `3J chemical/ petroleum, ~4J electric power generation, and ~5 J electronics/comput- ing. An attempt was made to include the automotive and steel industries, but their particular circumstances during the time frame in which the survey was conducted precluded their participation. In addition, repre- sentatives of the construction industry were provided with the results of the survey and expressed concurrence with the conclusions. A basic study questionnaire was developed by the task force and distributed through key individuals within each industry group. The purpose of the questionnaire was as follows: 1. To identify those needs perceived as important and unimportant to the individual engineer, as well as to determine which needs are important or unimportant to an engineer's particular industry as a whole. 2. To identify the perceived level of satisfaction of engineering needs for the individual and his/her respective industry. 3. To obtain judgments concerning the percentage of needs cur- rently being met by supporting organizations. 38

THE INDUS TRIAL SECTOR 39 4. To identify those support organizations that satisfy these needs and the estimated percentage of their contribution. Approximately 75 companies responded to the questionnaire lay sur- veying the various levels of engineering- from practicing engineers to engineering management-and a variety of functions, including design, manufacturing, and research and development. The results were analyzed to determine which needs were perceived as most important, as well as to identify the key support organizations. Several of the needs that were expressed by the respondents matched those identified by other sectors, including technical training, increased emphasis on professional standards, and professional development. The needs unique to the industrial sector are presented below. Career Assessment/Development The career development needs of the individual engineer can be eas- ily submerged in the operational concerns of a major industry. Yet these same individuals must continue to experience job satisfaction and be motivated and productive if they are to make positive contributions toward achieving the company's goals. Assisting employees in evaluat- ing alternative career opportunities and establishing personal objec- tives benefits both the employee and the employer. There is a mutual need, therefore, for industry and the engineers employed in industry to participate in an ongoing program of career assessment and develop- ment. Although the primary responsibility for career assessment and devel- opment lies with the employer, other support organizations can assist in meeting this need: Organizations Employing organizations Technical societies Professional societies Mechanisms Counseling Seminars Guidance programs Workshops Communication and Data Exchange Between Companies - There is an ongoing need for information transfer l~oth among indi- vidual engineers and in the industrial sector. As a whole industry stands to benefit significantly from the discussion and exchange of data within companies, between company components, within corporations, and

40 S UPPOR T ORGANIZATIONS between corporations. Advancement of technology, exchange of con- cepts and ideas, and minimization of duplication are some of the major benefits. In a competitive environment, however, a maximum level of open communication, a level that is not exceeded, must also be estab- lished. This clearly applies to the transfer of data between corporations and between countries. A number of support organizations exist to answer this need. Organizations Employing organizations Governmental agencies Technical societies Mechanisms Corporate communication process Technology transfer Technical publications Technical conferences Research and Development Project Capital Industry must maintain a balance between profitability and the dedi- cation of resources to develop new business. The development of new technology opportunities for a high payoff must be balanced against possible failure, which may jeopardize the financial stability of the company. As a result, many potential projects based upon new engi- neering technology are not pursued until success becomes more obvi ous. In the face of increasing foreign competition {subsidized by their governments) the U.S. position of engineering dominance will con- tinue to erode unless innovation and creativity are encouraged and supported financially. If industry in the United States is to remain competitive, venture capital must be made available for the advance- ment of technology. In addition, to meet this need, investment groups, financial institu- tions, and venture capital companies must be better informed about the benefits and risks accompanying engineering innovation. More- over, the concept of pilot studies needs to be expanded so that capital expenditures can be minimized until the potential for success can be more accurately evaluated. Support organizations capable of providing research and develop- ment capital do exist, but the mechanisms are not functioning at the level of effectiveness necessary to address the problem. Industry is somewhat reluctant to look to government for the financial support of engineering research and development projects, but it recognizes the desirability of a broad support base. The existing support organizations and mechanisms are perceived to be as follows:

THE IND US TRIAL SEC TOR Organizations Financial groups Venture capital companies Investment groups Government Mechanisms Grants Investment stocks Loans Tax incentives Opportunities for Positive Visibility and Appreciation 41 This need manifests itself both for the individual engineer in indus- try and for the industrial engineering sector as a whole. Among compa- nies with large numbers of engineers, individual recognition is the greatest unsatisfied need. The benefits of a sound policy for recognizing the achievements of engineers include motivation, productivity, job satisfaction, stability, and innovation. Rewards in the form of recogni- tion enhance and help to make technical careers more attractive. Industry as a whole also has a significant need for the positive recog- nition of engineering achievement. There has been some adverse pul~- licity in recent years regarding the negative environmental or sociological impact of industry's development of new technology; yet scant attention has laeen paid lay the media to the benefits of those technological advances developed through research lay major industrial corporations. Industry has the responsibility to inform the public of the benefits of its technological achievements; however, a letter informed and more objective media base also needs to lie developed. The support organizations that have the potential to address this need include the following: Organizations Employing organizations Professional societies Government Technical societies Media Service organizations Mechanisms Achievement awards Documentaries Industry appreciation programs Press releases Employee recognition programs Recruitment Opportunities The key to any successful industry is people, and acquisition of well- qualified engineers is essential for growth and technical leadership. Moreover, matching the right person with the right jolt is necessary to ensure quality work and to retain quality employees. Most of the nation's major engineering education institutions have

42 S UPPOR T ORGANIZATIONS formalized recruiting procedures for their graduating seniors or gradu- ate students. Such programs should lie carefully structured and well coordinated to minimize the expenditure of dollars and time lay inter- viewers and students alike. Communication between industry employers and engineers employed in industry is more difficult than recruiting on campus. There is a need to make contact with engineers in industry who desire to make a career change and have the specific expertise and personal attributes sought lay another company. Because of the highly technical and diversified nature of engineering work, employment agencies fre- quently lack the full understanding of what type of individual an orga- nization needs or what employment opportunities match the skills of a . . . partlcu tar engineer. A number of support organizations exist to meet the need for letter recruitment opportunities, but the available mechanisms need to lie strengthened and expanded: Organizations Educational institutions Trade publications Technical societies Employment agencies Professional societies Mechanisms Recruitment programs Employment opportunity ~ . . listings Employment referral services Newsletters Workshops

Next: 4. The Private Sector »
Support Organizations for the Engineering Community Get This Book
 Support Organizations for the Engineering Community
Buy Paperback | $40.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF


  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!