Date of Award


Degree Name

Leadership Studies


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Ronald Childress, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Sochor

Third Advisor

Dr. Yvonne Skoretz


The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to investigate the perceptions of early career engineers regarding leadership competency development within the undergraduate engineering curricula. Participants were selected using purposeful, convenience, and snowball sampling. Study participants represented the early career engineering population, those five years or less removed from graduating with their engineering degrees. Perspectives on leadership competency development within the undergraduate engineering curricula were gathered through semi-structured interviews. Study participants (N=20), through their lived experiences, described expectations of leadership competency from their employers and their ability to meet these expectations. Their ability related to preparedness resulting from their undergraduate engineering programs. Interview transcripts generated thematic analysis utilized in organizing, interpreting, and analyzing information. Findings showed challenges for early career engineers in meeting the expectations of their employers regarding leadership competency. Engineers related these challenges to a lack of effective leadership competency training encountered within the undergraduate engineering curricula. Early career engineers made recommendations for educators and administrations on how to increase the effectiveness of leadership competency development. Future studies include researching the disconnect between the level of competence of engineering graduates and early career engineers related to inaccurate leadership assessment.


Engineers -- Training. Leadership -- Education.