The transition from academic to professional cultures requires that former students adjust to new forms of feedback. As students, most people expected continuous, quantitative and prompt feedback on their performance, but as professionals feedback is much more likely to be sporadic, qualitative, and infrequent. The typical approach adopted by many large, technological organizations is the annual performance review. The figures below exemplify the types of criteria against which many engineering professionals are typically evaluated.
Unlike engineering school, where students are evaluated largely upon technical, analytical (i.e., cognitive) outcomes, professional settings place greater emphasis on communication, teamwork, leadership and other interpersonal skills. In other words, performance evaluation in professional settings depends to a great extent on how supervisors feel (i.e, affective) about the employee.
For example, “Values and supports diversity” relates to the affective aspect of the brain (feelings, values), whereas “Organizes and plans work assignments” is based upon action (an instinct to act relates to the conative aspect of the mind). Even a cursory review of the criteria demonstrates that the emphasis in professional settings is heavily on the conative and affective, in contrast to academic evaluations, which are almost exclusively cognitive.
Once we understand the evaluation criteria important in professional engineering settings, a few important discussion questions emerge.
- Should students their approach to their remaining education, given an improved understanding of workplace expectations? How?
- What do the conative aspects of the criteria listed say about the expectations of the engineering workplace? Is engineering welcoming of a diverse set of conative strengths?
- Performance Evaluation (mcasile.com)
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- How To Eliminate Performance Reviews In Your Organisation (barebrilliance.wordpress.com)
- 5 Steps to Better Performance Reviews (entrepreneur.com)
- From Student to Professional (iamthepdxsx.com)
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