Engineering Management

Project Management

Topics include projects to develop new commercial products and services and capital-intensive projects to develop large socio-technical systems (the so-called ‘mega-projects’). Project-based forms of organizing development work are a fundamental challenge for planners, engineers, and managers. These enterprises can take many years in planning until the idea gains traction amongst a group of resource-rich, independent actors. Planning is ensued by a capital-intensive implementation through a vast project supply chain governed by formal contracts. As the promoter (alone or in coalition) seeks to acquire critical resources from other actors, the scope and corresponding performance targets will evolve, especially as the world becomes more interconnected and crowded. Furthermore, global challenges such as the exponentially growing population of developing economies, rising inequalities between rich and poor, and climate change, are calling for new complex project-based forms of organizing work that go beyond autocratic hierarchical structures to meritocracy-based authorities and pluralistic arenas with shared decision-making power. This suggests the field of project-based organizing is facing major contemporaneous challenges. In these settings, top managers increasingly must work together with teams of technical staff, diverse constituencies, leaders from other organizations, and multiple environmental actors. Given these contemporaneous challenges, the ‘projects’ field is inherently interdisciplinary. We seek theoretical and phenomenological contributions that advance our knowledge of areas such as the following:

  • Structure-performance relationships: How do we define performance of complex projects? How can complex development projects be structured and governed?
  • Technology and management: What is the impact of new decomposable technologies on the way we manage and govern complex development projects?
  • Why and how context matters: What do we know about complex development projects in developing countries and in autocratic settings?
  • Supply chain management: How do we govern project-based buyer-supplier relationships?
  • Project portfolio and program management: How do we manage portfolios of projects?
  • Project selection: How do we select projects amongst competing priorities?
  • Project capabilities: Which capabilities are necessary to succeed?

In sum, we are committed to publish studies that rigorously leverage theoretical knowledge from a range of academic disciplines to advance our empirical and conceptual understanding of project-based organizations set up to engineer and develop complex systems. We encourage potential authors to seriously consider the practical and policy implications of their contributions.

Models and Methodologies

We seek original papers that advance the science and knowledge of engineering management through analysis of innovative normative or empirical models. However, development of a new model or methodology alone is not sufficient for acceptance; each paper must also make a significant contribution to the field of engineering management. The scope of the appropriate research should be broad enough for the paper’s results and insights to generalize to multiple organizations, and not be specific to a single product, process or organization.

Papers submitted to this department should present original models or methodologies, which are theoretically sound, rigorously justified and validated.  New models should be tested with sound empirical data or synthetic data with a significant managerial emphasis. Each paper should significantly extend previous knowledge in an appropriate modeling or methodological domain. Also, each paper should either validate the solution methodology as feasible and useful to a practicing engineer or demonstrate new insights for engineers through appropriate testing and experimental design. In general, papers employing an existing or standardized methodology to solve a well-known problem in the literature will not be accepted unless they demonstrate innovative and original insights regarding the methodology or the application.

This department also seeks high-quality case studies of practice. Case studies may focus on the application of creative methodologies to solve complex or unstructured problems, implementation issues, or other distinctive issues. However, the case study must describe an actual implementation and contain innovative and clearly generalizable lessons of value for researchers or practitioners of engineering management.

Illustrative topics are listed below. Papers integrating two or more topics are encouraged.

  • Analytical Hierarchy/Network Process
  • Capacity management
  • Data envelopment analysis
  • Distribution and logistics systems
  • Economic modeling (including game theory, control theory, etc.)
  • Empirical modeling (including structural equations, regression, etc.)
  • Fuzzy and Grey Systems
  • Heuristics
  • Management of technology (including mathematical tools, conceptual models and economic analysis)
  • Multicriteria and Multiobjective Decision Making
  • Optimization (including linear, nonlinear, stochastic, etc.)
  • Process control, design and analysis, improvement and reengineering
  • Product/process design interface
  • Production/inventory management
  • Quality control and management
  • Queuing/Markov analysis
  • Real Options Theory
  • Reliability and maintenance
  • Risk analysis
  • Rough Set Theory
  • Simulation
  • System dynamics
  • Technology mix optimization

Manufacturing and Supply Chain Systems

Manufacturing and Supply Chain Systems focuses on publishing high quality papers that significantly contribute to the effective design and management of procurement, manufacturing, and distribution processes in a supply chain. The areas considered include traditional issues facing production processes such as, aggregate production planning, inventory management, materials management, forecasting, scheduling, quality management, product design, facility location to broader supply chain issues such as, supply management, supply chain strategy, buyer-supplier relationships, supply chain network design, and distribution and logistics management. A variety of methodologies are encouraged, including analytical modeling approaches, survey based methods, economics and behavioral methods, and case studies. Both methodological rigor and contribution to theory and practice are key attributes for papers published.

Sample Topics include:

  • Production planning
  • Demand management and forecasting
  • Scheduling
  • Inventory management and control
  • Total quality management
  • Capacity planning
  • Lean manufacturing and just-in-time systems
  • Process control
  • Advanced manufacturing technologies and practices
  • Operations strategy
  • Supply management
  • Risk management in supply chains
  • Supply chain design
  • Logistics and distribution management
  • Supply chain contracts and incentives
  • Buyer-supplier relationships
  • Shop floor control
  • Facility location
  • Facility Layout
  • Product design and development
  • Global supply chain operations
  • Manufacturing strategy, flexibility, and time-based manufacturing management
  • Manufacturing technology adoption and implementation processes
  • Capital investment strategies, performance measurement, and cost accounting
  • Technology development through the supply chain
  • New product and manufacturing process innovation

People and Organizations

Individual engineers and scientists are keys to technological innovation. Their contributions depend on how their organizations are organized and managed. Dramatic changes are affecting the technical workforce and the organizations in which engineer and scientists work. For example, technical organizations are undergoing major transformations as they strive to become more competitive by bringing new products to market more rapidly and efficiently, by listening to their customers more closely, and by funding technical organizations more from business unit resources and less from corporate funds. Technology now comes from a variety of sources, only some of which are within the organization itself. Strategic partnerships are becoming a way of life for many companies, and technology is managed on a global basis. People are working more in teams, many of which are cross-functional, and many of which are “virtual” and not co-located. The composition of the technical work force is more diverse than before. The nature of technical careers is changing, as less emphasis is placed on company loyalty and technical staff are actively recruited by other companies. In short, a new reality confronts scientists, engineers, and their managers.

We seek contributions that increase our understanding of the management of scientists, engineers, technical teams, and technical organizations located anywhere in the world. Studies that directly address this new reality are especially welcome, but studies that deal with traditional topics in the current context are sought as well. Illustrative topics include:

  • Motivation
  • Supervision
  • Reward and recognition systems for individuals and teams
  • Career development
  • Technical obsolescence
  • Retention and turnover
  • Organization design
  • Technical communications
  • Effective teams for developing new technology
  • Virtual teams
  • Entrepreneurship within large corporations and in new start-ups
  • Management of interdepartmental interfaces
  • Technical leadership in organizations
  • Stimulation of creativity
  • Managing knowledge
  • Global management of technology
  • Organizational culture
  • Management of partnerships and joint ventures
  • Management of organizational change

Papers should extend current knowledge via new empirical results or creative integration and theoretical extensions of the literature. All papers should discuss implications for engineering management practice. Quantitative and qualitative studies are both welcome: both must clearly support their conclusions through rigorous analysis. Case studies will also be considered if they deal with especially interesting situations, report results that apply beyond the particular situation being studied, and clearly connect to the relevant literature.

Social Issues and Sustainability in Engineering Management

Topics on social issues, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and organizational ethics have generated considerable attention among a broad group of stakeholders including policy makers, industry, communities, employees, and managers. Environmental and social concerns, intertwined with economic development, make sustainability a complex issue requiring insightful strategic and operational management. Adding to the complexity of managing these issues, dimensions of sustainability go beyond the past or current study of organizations, and require consideration of inter-generational and inter-organizational issues. Thus, a balance of the ‘triple-bottom-line’ of social, environmental and economic issues is important for engineering managers.

A variety of important internal and external issues related to social issues and sustainability have emerged. Health, safety, and security of workers are examples of social issues, while design for environment, environmental management systems, green technology and innovation management, are examples of environmental issues facing organizations internally. Externally, managers need to help their organizations to develop and build community ties, contribute to various social programs, manage in an evolving green technology policy environment, and maintain ethical practices in emerging and developing nations.  Evolving competitive and socio-economic forces including social media, crowd sourcing, the internet of things and big data have caused emergent sustainability and social issues for engineering managers.

The following is an illustrative list of topics that would be appropriate for this department:

  • Management of and planning for green technology.
  • Collaborative innovation for sustainability.
  • Project management with a social consciousness.
  • Sustainable and closed-loop supply chain management.
  • Design for the Environment (eco-design) and Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) efforts.
  • Ecological modernization at the social and organizational level; the role of social innovation in response to regulatory policy.
  • Training and integration of engineers and staff on sustainability and social responsibility and ethics topics.
  • Integrating sustainability and triple-bottom-line life-cycle analysis into organizational projects.
  • Management of corporate social responsibility (CSR) systems (e.g. environmental, safety, health and management systems such as ISO 14000 and ISO 26000).
  • Engineering humanitarian, disaster recovery, and other socially supportive and desirable organizational practices.
  • Evidenced-based management for sustainability and social issues in a technologically and socially and electronically linked world.

All manuscripts should explicitly address ethical, social, or sustainability aspects. We encourage manuscripts that develop generalizable findings with a clear contribution to engineering management research and practice. Various methodological approaches are welcome.