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Reengineering Ph.D. Programs

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.372.1 - 1.372.6

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Paper Authors

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Merl Baker

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

Session 1255


Merl Baker College of Engineering and Computer Science University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


Recent articles by John A. Armstrong, “Rethinking the Ph.D.” [1] and Phillip A. Griffiths, “Reshaping Graduate Education”, [6] prompt faculty and administrators responsible for graduate education to study and implement changes that are needed in our programs. An analogy is drawn between the issues proposed by these articles and deep-rooted problems targeted by Michael Hammer’s and Steven Stanton’s [9] in the “Reengineering Revolution” and Hammer’s and James Champy’s justifications for “Reengineering the Corporation” [8]. Although Hammer and Champy’s concepts are often controvemial in the corporate world, they have attracted widespread attention, and many followem have achieved institutional revitalization. Armstrong and Griffiths make strong arguments for change, and the Hammer, Champy, and Stanton’s concepts offer a viable methodology for attack.

The Reengineering Concept

Michael Hammer states that reengineering is clearly an idea whose time has come. Hammer considers reengineering as a revolution and defines it as, “The fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in performance.” [7] His performance measures include cost, quality, services, and speed. Reengineering has emerged from the TQM philosophy as a means for improving processes. TQM assumes that the process is basically sound and that necessary continuous incremental improvements can be achieved through a structured approach to problem solving and an unfaltering commitment of informed leaders. However, reengineering digs deeper by challenging the fundamental process and questioning why it should even be sustained.

Today, the term “reinvention” is too often used interchangeably with reengineering; Hammer’s early concepts of reengineering may better reflect today’s concept of reinvention [5]. Reinvention is unquestionably dramatic and radical and challenges the fundamental process; it requires a bold and complex restructuring for a solution and/or major process substitutions. Most corporations which have embraced the reengineering concept have studied the option of radical restructuring as proposed in Hammer’s 1990 title, but most often accept and implement the less-radical modifications requiml to achieve significant gradual improvements and substitutions in the macro process [5,10,11].

David A. Garvin, through a roundtable discussion, approached reengineering by leveraging the processes for strategic advantage [5].

Reengineming efforts are sweeping the Country as companies shift from purely functional organizations to those that better accommodate horizontal work flow. The critical questions involve strategies and management practices. Which strategic proposals are best served by the processes? ---

Jan Leschly, CEO of Smith Klein Beecham, a roundtable participant led by Garvin stated:

process improvement is not limited to large-scale reengineering or fixing macro processes. Real power comes rom working with sn-dl processes --- that’s where the inefficiencies are.

fib’-’ ‘?JHly?#$ } 1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings .

Baker, M. (1996, June), Reengineering Ph.D. Programs Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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