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A Soft Skills Experiment in an Industrial Engineering and Management Academic Course: A Demonstration of How to Develop Soft Skills

A Soft Skills Experiment in an Industrial Engineering and Management Academic Course: A Demonstration of How to Develop Soft Skills
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Author(s): Klaas Stek (University of Twente, The Netherlands & Graz University of Technology, Austria)
Copyright: 2022
Pages: 30
Source title: Training Engineering Students for Modern Technological Advancement
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Anabela Carvalho Alves (University of Minho, Portugal) and Natascha van Hattum-Janssen (Saxion University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8816-1.ch002

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Abstract

Industrial firms increasingly concentrate on their core competences and outsource non-core activities, affecting the personal (soft) skills requirements of purchasing and supply chain management (PSM) personnel in their boundary-spanning roles. In parallel, machines take over processes but cannot replicate humans' soft skills such as creativity and strategic thinking. The literature shows that learning objectives in PSM courses in higher education are evaluated for not covering soft skills. Moreover, there is evidence that soft skills development is challenging. It is questionable which soft skills can be developed and which didactics are applicable. This study presents an educational soft skills experiment with IEM graduates, and it provides evidence that soft skills learning can effectively be introduced in existing courses. The graduates self-rated their competence levels of 36 soft skills before and after the course that provided soft skills workshops and a case study. In the first survey, “strategic thinking” ranked low and could be improved the most in the second survey.

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