Assisting Professional Development of Subordinate Engineers; Evidence from Owner/Manager Entrepreneurial Engineers in Sri Lanka
Many innovative-minded engineers have stepped towards the business domain as entrepreneurs in the international context and in the Sri Lankan context. Most entrepreneurial engineers have exploited technology-related business opportunities and succeeded in their entrepreneurial journey while contributing immensely to the economic development of the country. Although these engineers play the role of a business leader, they are professionally qualified engineers. Hence, they cannot neglect Engineering Ethics and perform as pure business managers in their entrepreneurial firms. The Code of Engineering Ethics applicable to Sri Lanka advises local engineers to actively assist and encourage the subordinate engineers to advance knowledge and experience. Therefore, Sri Lankan entrepreneurial engineers have an ethical responsibility to support the professional development of subordinate engineers. Both fields of entrepreneurship and ethics of engineers lack systematic studies in Sri Lanka. Thus, the authors were involved in an ongoing grounded theory-based qualitative study on entrepreneurial engineers' ethical practices in Sri Lanka. Based on the findings of that study, this paper investigates the strategies followed by Sri Lankan owner/manager entrepreneurial engineers on the professional development of their subordinate engineers. A purposively and theoretically selected sample of twelve entrepreneurial engineers was interviewed face to face to collect data. Interviews were voice recorded and transcribed verbatim. Interview transcripts were analyzed employing grounded theory techniques to achieve this study's objective with the NVivo software's support. The study reveals that Engineering Ethics' influence has compelled entrepreneurial engineers to follow various employee development strategies. As highlighted in their interviews, training, teaching, coaching & mentoring are the major categories of procedures followed by entrepreneurial engineers in Sri Lanka. This study's findings can be considered as guidance for emerging and future entrepreneurial engineers to create a mutually beneficial sustainable work environment for entrepreneurial engineers and their employees while achieving business success.
KEYWORDS: Entrepreneurial Engineers, Professional Development, Sri Lanka, Subordinates