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An evaluation of a human relations training program for engineers Wilson, Blair

Abstract

Engineers have been presented, almost traditionally, as highly skilled specialists who tend to lack skills in the human relations area. This study evaluated a human relations training program for engineers which had been developed to fill the gap in their earlier training. The program is part of the Diploma in Administration for Engineers offered by the British Columbia Council on Continuing Education for Engineers in conjunction with the University of British Columbia. Three instruments were used in the study, namely the Leadership Opinion Questionnaire (LOQ), the Leadership: Employee Orientation and Differentiation Questionnaire (LEAD) and the Profile of Organizational Characteristics (Form-S). The LOQ is a well-established instrument which measures two variables identified as Consideration (C) and Structure (S). The LEAD instrument is relatively new and measures two variables, identified as Employee Orientation (E) and Differentiation (D), which are purported to be similar to the LOQ variables. The Form-S instrument was developed to establish profiles of the characteristics of an organization. On this study, it measured the subjects' perception of their organization at the time of the course (N = Now) and as they wanted it to be (L = Like). Matched control and experimental groups of engineers and technically-oriented personnel, each with fifteen subjects, were selected at a location in Northern British Columbia. The experimental group was exposed to approximately twenty-four hours of total course time, in two weekends spaced one month apart, of a structured human relations training course. The control group was not exposed to any training. Seven hypotheses were tested to determine the effects of the training course on the six variables of the LOQ, LEAD and Form-S instruments. Specifically, a positive increase for the C and E means of the experimental group was expected together with a positive correlation between these two variables. In addition, S and D for both the experimental and control groups were expected to remain unchanged and the two variables were expected to show positive correlation.

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