Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Charles Daniels

Committee Member

Ariel Pinto

Committee Member

Resit Unal

Committee Member

Peter Shulman


Engineers play a vital role in society and contribute positively to economic growth in various areas, including energy, transportation, telecommunications, and others. In the United States of America, these areas are monitored by public policies that are set by policy actors—mainly lawyers, public administrators and social scientists—at legislative and regulatory levels. In these domains, engineers have a reduced voice with key decision makers on critical engineering issues, and their input is very limited. Their lack of involvement results in costly unintended consequences, affecting both the interest of the profession and the interest of the nation.

Research has shown that increased input from engineers bridges disciplinary gaps, allowing clarification of technical concerns and disentanglement of system complexities in public policy issues. This dissertation explores the skills necessary for engineers to navigate effectively within organizations and society, influence policy decisions, and the different factors impacting their influence. Grounded theory method is used to analyze data collected through semi-structured interviews conducted with engineers and other engineering or engineering management professionals. The investigation will lead to the construction of a theory and topic of study referred to as socio-political engineering. Furthermore, the perception of engineers regarding this topic of study is analyzed using a Q methodology, which supports the results of the grounded theory.

This knowledge provides insight into ways that socio-political engineering mayenhance engineering education and engineers’ certification through the development of capabilities to influence multidisciplinary decision making.