Adopting sustainability into the mechanical engineering design process: organizational change through a lens of structuration

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Humanities
Department Communication
Author Blevins, Maria Dawn
Title Adopting sustainability into the mechanical engineering design process: organizational change through a lens of structuration
Date 2015-05
Description Global climate change presents large-scale challenges to humanity. Vast, urgent, and creative changes are necessary to reduce impending consequences. Although technology cannot be viewed as a cure all, changes in energy sourcing, manufacturing, and industrial emissions are necessary to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. This dissertation focuses on processes of organizational change as a department of mechanical engineering at a research university struggles to train students to design in a more sustainable way. Thus, changes in design processes portend material consequences for the environment (e.g., less emissions, waste, and resource extraction). This qualitative study helps organizational communication scholars and students better understand the challenges of socialization at a transformational time in our collective history. Structuration theory offers a lens through which to identify contradictions within macro-, mid-, and organizational levels as well as a platform for further categorizing contradictions with primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary classification systems. Additionally, it allows for a discussion of how these levels influence each other. This study also advances theory by pinpointing contradictions using Canary's structurating activity theory; investigating how structuration helps researchers explore socialization in more exhaustive ways; and combining the identification of contradictions with identifying resources as a simple yet effective approach to analyzing organizational change. Based on these findings, a series of interventions and resources are presented. In the face of global climate change, organizational procedures necessitate rapid change. As such, this dissertation offers a theoretically-driven change model that can be used to incorporate a sustainability ethos into the design process.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Environmental communication; Organizational communication; Structuration; Sustainability education
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Maria Dawn Blevins 2015
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 2,879,685 Bytes
Identifier etd3/id/3711
ARK ark:/87278/s6gb5ccp
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2016-02-29
Date Modified 2017-05-18
ID 197262
Reference URL