Macquarie University
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Organisational transition to work programs for new career engineers

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posted on 2022-03-28, 00:45 authored by Sally Hawse
Silvia Gherardi has famously noted that we are in the midst of a ' practice turn ', and that new interpretations and forms of work, practice, student, and professional are emerging . This study explores the transition to work from an organisational perspective . Its aim is to inform induction programs that facilitate the successful transition of graduate engineers to the workplace . While the study asks the more routine question: "What capabilities enable successful transition to professional work for an engineering graduate?", it addresses the broader issue of what it means to be between these worlds, and how learning models of 'betweenness' , or co - production can assist the transition from university to work . The study acknowledges that this question is endemic to both engineering education and engineering practice, and that each are contributors to its knowledge base, and to the learning experiences that promote successful engineering outcomes . Inquiry is thus influenced by the literature from engineering education and organisational knowledge . Theories of knowledge forms, experts and novices, deliberative reflection, situational literacies, and distributed knowledge are interpretative lenses . The research method is statistical analysis of questionnaire responses . Study results help adjudicate theory - practice divisions . The study findings provide evidence - based confirmation that (1) universities and workplaces have complementary and interrelated roles in the transition from university to the workplace , ( 2) that the domains of knowledge, skills, and character comprise a professional persona uniquely weighted to the engineering discipline, and (3) that work experience is trans formative, and contributes to developmental changes across the work lifespan . Form al study, situated and collaborative activities, and critical reconstruction of practice are catalysts for this transformation . The implication is that universities and workplaces ultimately co - produce learning experiences . This conclusion creates opportunities for the development of new models of collaboration and learning partnerships.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Professional development for early-career engineers -- 3. Fostering wise judgement -- 4. Professionalism, character and skills -- 5. Transitioning to professional work -- 6. Co-creating knowledge experiences -- 7. Components of the engineering professional persona -- 8. Conclusions -- 9. Full reference list -- 10. Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 143-154

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Marketing and Management

Department, Centre or School

Department of Marketing and Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Leigh Wood


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