Can and Should Social Competence be Taught to Engineers?

Pia Helena Lappalainen


The traditional focus in engineering syllabi on technical abilities has been well substantiated by the types of knowledge and skills required in industrial processes. However, the emerging requirements in industrial operating environments necessitate a more personal configuration of competencies facilitating both intrapersonal and interpersonal processes at workplace. The concomitant reform of engineering education to incorporate social competence into the technical education calls for a revision of pedagogy, as the traditional instruments applied in the dissemination of substance knowledge and technical skills provide little support for leveraging students’ social skills.

This article discusses the learnability of socio-emotional abilities and reviews their most fundamental and pertinent skills. The results from a quantitative, empirical research conducted in engineering industries to identify predictors of social competence are reported and the implications on engineering pedagogy examined. The proposed methodology for teaching social skills in the engineering classroom setup constitutes collaborative learning, self-management techniques, and teacher immediacy.


emotional intelligence; emotive communication; engineering curriculum; social competence

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP) – eISSN: 2192-4880
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