Asee peer logo

Privatization Initiatives: A Source For Engineering Economy Case Studies

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Engineering Economy Frontiers

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1013.1 - 10.1013.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Keith Williamson

author page

Carol Considine

author page

Paul Kauffmann

author page

Tarek Abdel-Salam

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3542

Privatization Initiatives: A Source for Engineering Economy Case Studies

Paul Kauffmann Tarek Abdel-Salam Keith Williamson East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

Carol Considine Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

Introduction Undergraduate courses in engineering economy provide the opportunity to cover many topics that are essential for the career success of practicing engineers. Primary among these are knowledge of cost analysis, time value of money, and business case analysis of technology investments. However, beyond these core concepts, engineering economy courses have the potential to influence a broader spectrum of learning objectives that contribute to career success. For example, engineering economy can enhance student skills in important topical areas such as technical presentations, report writing, communication, entrepreneurship, risk management, and critical thinking. One approach to achieve this potential is to integrate engineering economy topics into practical and challenging case studies.

Recently, the federal government has developed a number of engineering economy based decision models to support implementation of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circular A-761. This directive provides impetus and guidance for privatizing government operations that can be performed more efficiently by the private sector. These privatization initiatives and related decision models represent a significant opportunity to develop case studies that can promote not only understanding of many important engineering economy topics but also address, in a team based learning environment, the broader set of curricular topics noted above.

This paper presents an overview of the case study method, reviews the basic structure of the circular A-76 privatization decision model, and describes a case study that was developed based on the privatization concept. It highlights the possibilities for development of case studies that can challenge student teams to apply engineering economy tools while developing skills in a range of curricular areas that are important to undergraduate engineering education and career success in engineering practice.

Case Study Method Overview The case study teaching method has a long history as a useful and respected instructional tool in many disciplinary areas ranging from psychology to business and management. As early as 1982, Yin2 published an annotated bibliography on the case study method. In a later work3, he described the long and respected history of the case study approach and points to classic case studies in diverse areas such as by Whyte4 in 1943 on an urban community and Allison5 in 1971 on the Cuban missile crisis. There are also many examples of seminal case study research within the management literature dating back to the 1950’s. For example, Gibb and Wilkins6 cite Blau’s7, Gouldner’s8 and Dalton’s9 work on management related cases. There are numerous current works on the use and impact of case studies in education and these are excellent

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering

Williamson, K., & Considine, C., & Kauffmann, P., & Abdel-Salam, T. (2005, June), Privatization Initiatives: A Source For Engineering Economy Case Studies Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15547

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015