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.