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Pages: 3-10

Engineering project organization: defining a line of inquiry and a path forward

Author: Paul S. Chinowsky

Category: Project Organization Studies

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The formalization of a line of inquiry requires three elements: a foundational definition, an operational context and a path forward to guide researchers within the domain. In this initial Pathfinding paper, these elements are addressed for the engineering project organization line of inquiry. The field of engineering project organization research is put forth as a distinct pursuit within the overall field of organization research. In this distinct domain, engineering, social science, business and public policy are integrated as foundational pillars within the context of infrastructure development and the requirement to meet multiple levels of stakeholder requirements. The paper puts forth the argument that traditional perspectives of project-based organizations and project management are no longer sufficient to address the challenges of an evolving global economy, focus on environmental concerns and multi-cultural projects. Rather, it is necessary to forge a new path that embraces interdisciplinary perspectives as a basis for studying engineering organizations at all levels. From this basis, a path forward and a specific set of milestones are specified that should be measured and achieved by the Engineering Project Organization community as it solidifies engineering project organization research as the next generation of interdisciplinary research within a project-based context. Finally, a charge is given to the community to collaborate while developing novel insights and challenging entrenched beliefs and modes of inquiry in both industry and academia.

Keywords: Project Organization

DOI: 10.1080/21573727.2010.549611