Identifying value in the engineering enterprise

James Trevelyan, Bill Williams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The investigation presented in this chapter was originally inspired by the authors’ observations of engineers in Australia, India, Pakistan, and Portugal that suggested the value aspect of their work was rarely addressed. This is somewhat surprising given that value creation lies at the core of any business and nearly all of the engineers observed were working for business enterprises. This initial observation led us to examine what turned out to be relatively sparse literature relating to engineering value, how the value of engineering work is perceived within the context of entrepreneurship and innovation research and how students are introduced to this in engineering education programs and entrepreneurship courses. We were led to conclude that the concept of value creation makes only a tenuous and indistinct appearance at the far periphery of engineering discourse. Given the critical importance of business investment for almost all engineering enterprises, it is surprising that the research literature is almost silent on this issue. In the study we identify ways that engineers create and protect value that are not usually mentioned in the innovation-centred approach typical of entrepreneurship research and education emanating from Schumpeter’s early twentieth century ideas that still shape business and economics today. We hypothesize that this lack of awareness of value creation by engineers may be associated with low success rates of major engineering capital expansion projects such as process plants, infrastructure construction, and defence equipment acquisitions. Furthermore, it could help to explain some of the everyday frustrations encountered by engineers, employers and investors in engineering enterprises and low rates of productivity improvement in developing countries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe engineering-business nexus
Subtitle of host publicationSymbiosis, tension and co-evolution
EditorsS. Hyldgaard Christensen, B. Delahousse, C. Didier, M Meganck, M. Murphy
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9783319996363
ISBN (Print)9783319996356
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NamePhilosophy of Engineering and Technology
ISSN (Print)1879-7202
ISSN (Electronic)1879-7210


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