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Engineering education and performance: the German machinery and equipment sector

Robert A. Paton (Department of Management, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)
Richard Wagner (Department of Management, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)
Robert MacIntosh (Department of Management, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 15 June 2012

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between management education, the performance of German engineering enterprises and the strategic knowledge status of the executives running those enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based upon the results of an online/posted self‐administered questionnaire conducted within Germany, augmented by micro case studies.

Findings

Findings suggest that the curricula in German Engineering Faculties fail to fully embrace business and management studies, in particular strategic management which has virtually no presence. Engineers dominate senior management positions within the German machinery and equipment sector yet they display limited knowledge of strategic management tools. There is also evidence that links performance with the application of management knowledge.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to senior executives within German SMEs from the machinery and equipment sector. It is likely that the findings would be applicable throughout the German engineering industry; however, generalisability to other countries may be limited. Only a single year's performance (2007) was considered and this is also a limitation of the study. This was mitigated by a request that anomalies be noted, such as extraordinary write offs or a windfall profit, within the year in question, this was then taken into account during the analysis.

Practical implications

Based on the findings it is suggested that German faculties of engineering should enhance and expand management education, particularly strategic management, thus enhancing future performance potential within German SMEs.

Originality/value

This paper examines the level of management education attained by senior engineering executives with a key economic industrial sector in Germany, as such it is one of few such studies which investigates the link between management education and performance.

Keywords

Citation

Paton, R.A., Wagner, R. and MacIntosh, R. (2012), "Engineering education and performance: the German machinery and equipment sector", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 32 No. 7, pp. 796-828. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443571211250086

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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