ENGINEERS IN SOCIETY:
ROLES, PROFESSIONALISM AND BEYOND
Outline of a talk delivered to engineering students of Universiti Putra Malaysia on Friday, 20 February 2004 at Bilik Seminar, Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
BY Ir. Oon Chee Kheng
BE(Civil), LLB(Hons), MBA, CLP, MIEM, PEng(M) Advocate and Solicitor
INTRODUCTION Contrary to the popular perception of life as an engineer, this talk will focus on different roles of, and played by, engineers. Not exactly life overwhelmed by calculations, designs (structural, hydrological, chips etc), drawings, supervision of construction etc. Life as an engineer is more than this, and sometime he (which should be taken to include “she”) plays roles which on first impression are not linked to their professional training. It is stressed that the training received as an engineer is part of the reasons which an engineer can display his versatility.
DIFFERENT ROLES OF ENGINEERS 2.1 Engineers as Managers • • • • • • • • • • • • Who is a manager? Someone who plans, organizes, coordinates, controls, executes, and achieves the objectives that are entrusted upon him. Career progression Are engineers good managers? E.g. Alfred Sloan of General Motors – electrical engineer The management gurus: many of them were trained as engineers! Michael E Porter – “competitive advantage” – aeronautical/mechanical engineer W. Edward Deming – “quality” - electrical engineer Joseph Juran – “quality” – electrical engineer Henry Mintzberg – “strategic management” – mechanical engineer Tom Peters – “Excellence” – civil engineer F.W. Taylor – “scientific management”, “time motion study” – mechanical engineer (?) Henry Fayol – “Industrial management” – mining engineer Henry Gantt – “Gantt chart” – mechanical engineer
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Engineers as Scientists • • Science and engineering are interlinked; it would not be wrong to say that engineering is applied science. (Science is the theoretical foundation...
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