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Where's The Management?

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Emerging EM Areas

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1449.1 - 11.1449.5



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Paper Authors


William Peterson Old Dominion University

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William R. Peterson is a past chair of the Engineering Management Division of ASEE; a Founding Member and past President of Epsilon Mu Eta, The Engineering Management Honor Society; the President Elect of the Society for Engineering and Management Systems of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and a Fellow and past President of the American Society for Engineering Management. He held both engineering management and operations management positions for fifteen years prior to becoming and academic.

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Morgan Henrie University of Alaska Anchorage

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Morgan Henrie holds a PhD from Old Dominion University Engineering Management School, a MS Project Management from The George Washington University as well as a BSEE and BA Technology Management. Currenlty Morgan teachs Operation Management at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

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Shannon Bowling Old Dominion University

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Shannon Bowling is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering at the Old Dominion University. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University, SC in August 2003. He received his M.S. in Engineering Technology with an emphasis in Quality Management (2000) from East Tennessee State University, TN and his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering Technology (1998) from Bluefield State College, WV.

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

Where’s the Management?


This paper asks the question, “Where’s the management?” much as Clara asked “Where’s the beef?” in the classic Wendy’s commercial. The management content in engineering management graduate programs appears to vary greatly in quantity and does not appear to be found in stand alone management courses, per se, but as components of technical courses where the management content is dependent on the instructor including management topics or putting a management “spin” on the material. Examples of this are the typical project management course and engineering economy course which tend to teach tools and rely on the instructor to place a management context on the “numbers” generated. This paper looks at why the management content is so low and suggests ways to balance the technical and management aspects of EM programs.


Engineering management means different things to different people, so a logical place to start is to give an operational definition to the term. This in turn creates problems, since to a large degree; the definition of engineering management is context sensitive. An engineering manager can be a manager of engineers (the head of an engineering department) or, more generally, an engineer working in a managerial capacity (the plant manager, the operations manager, the material control manager, the accounting manager, the sales manager). Engineering management could thus be the management of engineers (and other similar technical types) or what an engineer does when he/she advances in their career. Similarly, project management can be considered a sub-set of engineering management when engineering skills are required to manage the project (or when an engineer manages the project). Some1 define engineering management as the skills, knowledge, abilities, and attitude needed to manage and problem-solve in a technology driven organization. Kotnour and Farr2 give a description of engineering management field which places engineering management as the bridge between engineering and management. For this paper we are defining engineering management broadly and thus as the skills needed by an engineer to effectively manage processes and people.

Engineering management programs also mean different things to different people. There is no commonly recognized body of knowledge for engineering management3 and the requirements for ABET4 accreditation of engineering management programs are very general. Most graduate level engineering programs are not ABET accredited for a variety of reasons which has raised quality issues on occasions. The American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM) has addressed this perceived quality issue with its certification program as reported by Westbrook5. Graduate programs tend to fall into three categories as reported by Hicks, Utley, and Westbrook6 and focus on either: (1) classical concepts of management, (2) mathematical concepts, or (3) behavioral management. In developing its standards for certification, ASEM made two significant (to this paper) curriculum requirements7: (1) a balance between qualitative and quantitative courses and (2) a requirement that at least one third of the coursework be management and management-related. Thus, whether the student desires to acquire a master’s

Peterson, W., & Henrie, M., & Bowling, S. (2006, June), Where's The Management? Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--332

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