Technical Coordination in Engineering Practice

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    139 Citations (Scopus)


    An empirical ethnographic survey of engineers using interviews and field observations in Australia provides evidence that coordinating technical work of other people by gaining their willing cooperation is a major aspect of engineering practice. Technical coordination in the context of this study means working with and influencing other people so they conscientiously perform necessary work to a mutually agreed schedule. While coordination seems to be non-technical, analysis provides evidence supporting the critical importance of technical expertise. Coordination usually involves one-on-one relationships with superiors, clients, peers, subordinates, and outsiders. Coordinating the work of other people seems to be important from the start of an engineering career.Engineering education only provides limited informal coordination skill development and current accreditation criteria may not reflect this aspect of engineering. This paper suggests ways in which students can learn coordination, and describes some of the author's experiences in applying this research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-201
    JournalJournal of Engineering Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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