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Engineers Becoming Managers

Peter C. Hughes

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ISBN 10: 1425736505 / ISBN 13: 9781425736507
Published by Xlibris, 2006
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Engineers Becoming Managers

Publisher: Xlibris

Publication Date: 2006

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

About this title


This book rests on three cultures: applied science, engineering, and management. While these plainly overlap to a degree, a person cannot move from success in one to success in another without considerable effort, dedication and talent. Clearly, an understanding of these cultural differences is essential to engineers whose career goal is to evolve into top-level managers. The first step in gaining such understanding is to admit that these three cultures are quite distinct. The applied science culture is typified by the engineering school; the engineering culture is typified by the company engineering design office; and the management culture is typified by the senior management team and the boardroom. The older one gets, the more one realizes the enormous importance of "culture" to almost every important human issue, and the topic of engineers becoming managers is certainly no exception. The culture of a group is the set of all common traits, responses, values, beliefs, priorities, attitudes and behaviors which characterize that group. A group's culture is usually not codified but is passed on, from older group members to younger ones by a thousand subtle messages, most being nonverbal. Part I of This Book Having briefly established in Chapter 1 the inseparability of engineering and management, we then look at the students who enter an engineering school intending to graduate and become employed as young engineers. Although they go to their first classes reasonably expecting that they are now on course to become engineers, as described in Chapter 2 what they usually find on offer, is the culture of applied science. Part I is intended for engineering students and should be read as early as possible in engineering school. Chapter 3 argues that it is the duty of an engineering school to acquaint all of its students not just with careers in civil, chemical and electrical engineering, etc., but about careers in engineering management as well-and to devote an appropriate fraction of its financial and human resources to discharge this duty. Chapter 4 shows, in abridged form, the entire journey from the most abstract of mathematics to the realities of commerce. Also featured in Part I of this book are two subjects (discussed in Chapters 5 and 6) that are crucial for a future in management, yet are rarely considered in a typical undergraduate applied science education: marketing and office politics. Part II of This Book Here, the target readers are functioning engineers in various nonacademic organizations. Part II of this book is intended for young practicing engineers and should be read as early as possible after graduation. One must decide what the future options and opportunities are, what one's strengths and weaknesses are, and what one most enjoys doing-not just over the next year or two, but over the remainder of one's career. Chapter 7 considers risk management. No business can be successful without planning, and planning requires making assumptions about the future. To achieve the desired (well-considered, well-calculated) rewards requires a commitment to the associated (well-considered, well-calculated) risks. The second area examined (Chapter 8) is accountancy. Anyone who does not understand the relation between his activities and the financial needs of the business (or considers this relationship to be someone else's problem) is in a self-limiting career. The third area (Chapter 9) should be a source of excitement for engineers. Their backgrounds and aptitudes prepare them especially well for innovation. The relationship of R&D to innovation and the roles of incubators, technology clusters and university laboratories are also discussed. Finally, in Chapter 10, we examine the important concept of intellectual capital. Knowledge-based companies-the ones that are heavily dependent on what their employees know, how these employees share this knowledge with other employees in the company, and how all this knowledge g

About the Author:

Peter Hughes has been a professor of space systems engineering at the University of Toronto since 1966. He has also had visiting appointments at the Canadian Space Agency and Purdue University. He founded Dynacon Inc. in 1980, a growing company in space technology and medical lab automation. After obtaining his MBA from York University in 1996, he was appointed as the founding Director of the Jeffrey Skoll BASc/MBA Program at the University of Toronto, 2000-2004. He was jointly appointed to the Strategic Management Group at the Rotman School of Management over this same period.

Hughes has published over 80 refereed papers in archive journals, 50 conference papers, 112 professional presentations, and 24 major consulting reports. These have ranged over aerodynamics, satellite orbit and attitude dynamics and control, and space robotics. (Hughes performed the complete dynamics models used in the design of the remote manipulator arms for the NASA space shuttle and space station.) He also contributed to the analysis of the weaponization of space. His text-reference book Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics, originally published by John Wiley, has just been re-published by Dover Publications as a classic in its field. He is a highly rated teacher and has developed and taught over a dozen undergraduate and graduate courses. He has personally supervised 48 MASc theses and 33 PhD theses.

His book Satellites Harming Other Satellites, written for the Canadian Department of External Affairs, led to a presentation at the U.N. ad hoc Committee on Outer Space, in Geneva.

In 1975, Dr Hughes founded Dynacon Associates (now Dynacon Inc.), which has become a successful space and medical automation business (approx. revenue of $5M/year), building Canada's first microsatellite and exporting satellite gyro wheels and medical lab automation hardware to the U.S. and Europe. He served as CEO until 2000 and is currently Chairman.

Hughes has served on many committees, both within and outside the University. He is a professional engineer (Ontario), a Fellow of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI), and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He is a member of the Canada's national Innovation Council, and was the 2006 winner of the Alouette Award, the highest award from the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute. He is currently a Professor Emeritus of Aerospace Engineering at the Institute for Aerospace Studies, and a Professor Emeritus in Strategic Management in the Rotman School of Management, both at the University of Toronto.

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