Date of Award

1-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

Summers, Joshua D

Committee Member

Joseph , Paul F

Committee Member

Mocko , Gregory M

Committee Member

Shappell , Scott A

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to clearly define leadership that exists within engineering project teams. Leadership can be applicable to any field of study and is heavily researched in business management. Sources which review leadership classify this topic in reference to managerial styles, leadership types and styles, emotional intelligence, and work climate. However, there are few sources which define leadership specifically within engineering environments. The motivation of this research is driven by the absence of defining and observing consistency in engineering leadership through the research‟s experience in engineering teams. Existing leadership is defined in this research through conducting two studies which examined two undergraduate engineering design teams. These exploratory case studies used data collection methods such as an ethnographic study, interviewing, written surveys, and documentation analysis to explain the occurrences of leadership throughout each case study. The information from these case studies was combined through intra- and inter-method triangulation. Then, the results and conclusions from each study were extracted by triangulating within and across each of the data collection methods. Through these two case studies, leadership clearly existed across both cases and task oriented leadership was the more dominant leadership type found. There were other leaders which were established as task and interpersonally oriented leaders and non-leaders were found to have considerable leadership characteristics in both cases. Lastly, interviewing, ethnographic study, and questionnaires should be applied to find leadership within engineering design teams.

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