All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Master of Business Administration (MBA)


College of Business & Professional Studies

Degree Program



Business Administration


Electric Utility, Fossil Fuels, Power Plant, Human Resources, Training


During the 1960's and early 1970's, the electric utility industry experienced consistently, large annual increases in sales. During the late 1970's, however, demand growth began to slow and utilities were faced with high cost overruns due to nuclear power plant construction and excess generating capacity. These factors combined with conservation and higher rates due to inflation resulted in lower than predicted sales. Because of lower revenues and increased competition, utilities now must be more concerned with containing costs and becoming more productive. An important area in this regard is the efficiency of utility employees. Industry analysts estimate that human resources are only forty percent efficient. An electric utility can both decrease costs as well as become more productive by implementing cost effective training programs.

My thesis analyzes human resource development within the fossil utility industry. First, I plan to discuss the current condition of the electric utility industry. Included in this chapter are the current trends and future predictions for the industry as well as a discussion on the need for increased emphasis on human resource development. I then plan to analyze the skill requirements needed at fossil power plants. Included in this analysis are operator, maintenance, and supervisor positions.

Since human resource development must be cost effective in order to be of any benefit, I plan to discuss several strategies and models that develop and measure the effectiveness of training programs. Specifically, I list and explain a number of parameters to monitor for evaluating fossil power plant training programs.

Finally, I conclude my thesis by using case examples of several utilities in order to demonstrate the important characteristics of cost effective training programs.

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