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Aspirations to Manage: A Comparison of Engineering Students and Working Engineers

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Abstract

Many, perhaps most, individuals who are trained as engineers eventually become managers. However, the reasons for this occupational transition are unclear. The present study examines the occupational aspirations (technical versus managerial) of two groups of engineers with varying work experience: current engineering students and engineering alumni with 10-15 years of experience. Results suggest that managerial aspirations are as common among students as among engineers with work experience. However, the aspirations of experienced engineers are more reliably predicted by their values, beliefs about engineering, and career management strategies. Implications and future research needs are noted.

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1988-01-01

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management; engineering; experience; strategies

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Required Publisher Statement: Copyright held by Elsevier. Final version published as: Rynes, S. L., Tolbert, P. S., & Strausser, P. G. (1988). Aspirations to manage: A comparison of engineering students and working engineers. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 32(2): 239-253. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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