Case Studies of Systems

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Regular Paper
Case Studies of Systems
Engineering and
Management in Systems
Acquisition

George Friedman and Andrew P. Sage* 1 , 2 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 1
Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research, George Mason University, Fairfax VA, 22030-4444 2

C AS E S T UDI E S OF SY ST E M S E NGI NE E R I NG AND M ANAGE ME NT I N SY ST E MS AC QUI S I TI O N
Received 6 April 2003; Accepted 22 September 2003, after one or more revisions DOI 10.1002/sys.10057

ABSTRACT

This paper discusses the role of case studies in systems engineering and systems manage- ment, especially case studies that involve systems acquisition. We first provide a brief overview of case studies, including some of the analysis techniques useful for the conduct of case studies. Next, we discuss a two-dimensional framework for systems engineering and management case studies. The framework is in the form of a 9 row by 3 column matrix. We present a number of vignettes of case studies, at least one for each of the 27 cellular entries in this matrix. The hope is that this will be a stimulus and precursor of additional systems engineering and management case study efforts, both in terms of appropriate frameworks for these and in the actual conduct of case study research. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Syst Eng 7: 84–97, 2004

Key words: case studies; case framework; systems engineering taxonomy

1. INTRODUCTION

Systems engineering concepts—including methods, processes and systems management to enable trustwor- thy implementation of processes and methods to ensure *Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed (e-mail: quality products and services—are very important for asage@gmu.edu). success today. The material to follow was brought to- Systems Engineering, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2004

gether with two major considerations: © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 84

CASE STUDIES OF SYSTEMS ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT IN SYSTEMS ACQUISITION 85
1. In the teaching of systems engineering, case stud- longer period of time. In the social sciences, case stud- ies are potentially very instructive in that they ies became less popular a half century ago as the social relate aspects of the real world to the student science disciplines became more “scientific” and quan- through exposure to realities in the world of titative. Case studies were seen as suffering from fun- professional practice. Frequently, the bad exam- damental problems of external and internal validity, and ples are even more valuable than the good ones, sometimes even from construct validity and reliability since they emphasize the penalties for not follow- (Yin, 2003a):...
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