Leadership characteristics within the making community

James Logan Oplinger, Micah Lande, Shawn Jordan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations


Makers are those who enjoy creating things and learning new skills, as well as interacting within a connected community1. Through the analysis of Makers as part of a larger study2 a researcher had noticed the emergence of leadership traits within the Maker community. Leadership is a key quality for the engineer of the future3. Proactiveness, confidence, motivation, communication, coaching will be important skills for engineers so that they can effectively lead teams, adjust to change, and synthesize4. In National Academy of Engineering's The Engineer of 20203 future engineers are expected to be in position to influence "in the making of public policy and in the administration of government and industry." The Maker community offers a broad spectrum of individuals engaged in informal engineering and tinkering activities. This study explores leadership using a theoretical framework of competing values including relating to people, managing processes, leading change, and producing results5. The study relies upon artifact elicitation (based on photo elicitation6) with 40 of these Makers at four Maker Faires in the United States. The Artifact elicitation interviews were conducted at the Maker Faires in front of participants' inventions, where the Makers were asked to describe the invention and the process behind it. Using a theoretical framework of competing values7,8 and through parallel inductive-deductive analysis, the emergent themes among our sample of Makers include that they express leadership qualities of (1) innovators - they utilize different skillsets to develop unique products and solutions; (2) monitors - they evaluate projects and respond to results; (3) directors - they set goals and expectations of their projects and processes; and (4) producers - they are determined and possess a personal drive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for Society
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
StatePublished - 2015
Event2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Seattle, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2015Jun 17 2015


Other2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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