Designing Technology Skills Education Programs to Raise Emotional Maturity of Participants: A Proposed Framework
Several reports on the profile of information technology and systems (IST) professionals have indicated the lack of people-oriented skills among them. In addition, interviews with several corporate and human resource executives indicated that the skill they most desired among information system hires was people orientation and social skills. Promoting these competencies and skills among IST students is especially critical because IST roles involve a large amount of interaction with user managers, end-users and functional departments and success of projects depends crucially on joint teams and the ability to understand cues, undocumented policies and sometimes non-vocalized user needs. People skills and social competence are often loosely termed “communication” and this paper investigates deeper into the components, antecedents and precedents of this requirement.
This paper reports on a framework to guide the design of information systems and technology courses which train participants with content skills and simultaneously train them with people skills and social skills. The design framework utilizes work done in the field of emotional maturity and emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman and proposes a taxonomy of skills and competencies which should guide all training and education courses in the area of technology and systems. The paper also illustrates the implementation of the framework in undergraduate and graduate courses and results achieved and tested. Results indicate that integrating IST education and training with mechanisms that foster emotional maturity in the participants has the potential to promote several behavioral increments including people skills, social skills and communication skills.
Keywords: Technology Education, Emotional Maturity, Social Skills, IST Professionals, People Skills
Dr. Rachna Kumar
Professor, Information Systems and Technology
Prior to Alliant International University, Dr. Kumar has been a faculty member at California State University at San Marcos, University of Texas at Austin, and New York University at New York.