Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Debra A. Major

Committee Member

Xiaoxiao Hu

Committee Member

Konstantin Cigularov


To meet the current demand for engineers, research has focused on how to attract and retain qualified candidates in the field, especially those that are underrepresented (e.g., women; NSB, 2016). The present study investigates incivility and embeddedness, which have been found to be antecedents of retention in both the workplace (Cortina, Magley, Williams, & Langhout, 2001; Mitchell, Holtom, Lee, Sablynski, & Erez, 2001) and the collegiate setting (Caza & Cortina, 2007; Major et al., 2015). To extend previous research, both constructs were examined simultaneously among undergraduate engineering students. Undergraduate, first-year engineers completed an online survey indicating the extent to which they experienced incivility in engineering, the primary source of the uncivil treatment, and their level of embeddedness in engineering. A comparison of means and three hierarchical moderated regressions were used to test the proposed hypotheses. Results indicated that men and women experienced similar levels of incivility in engineering. In addition, incivility significantly predicted two of the three dimensions of embeddedness: fit and links. Gender moderated the relationship between incivility and engineering fit such that men who experienced incivility experienced lower engineering fit while incivility did not influence engineering fit for women. Gender did not moderate the relationship between incivility and engineering links or sacrifice. Future research should examine persistence in relation to these variables to determine if embeddedness mediates the relationship between incivility and persistence in one's engineering major.


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