Organization and Control of Engineering Design Firms

by Robert D. Logcher, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Massachusetts Inst. of Tech., Cambridge, Mass.,
Raymond E. Levitt, (A.M.ASCE), Asst. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Massachusetts Inst. of Tech., Cambridge, Mass.,

Serial Information: Issues in Engineering: Journal of Professional Activities, 1979, Vol. 105, Issue 1, Pg. 7-14

Document Type: Journal Paper


Over the past decade, the character of major U.S. civil engineering design firms has shofted from partnerships to hierarchical corporate structures. Since many large c.e. firms have information systems geared both to their prior organizational structure and to obsolete MIS technology, they are now experiencing the need to update their systems and for face new management issues. This paper introduces the new MIS capabilities and describes the mix of hierarchical and matrix structures found in typical large A/E firms. Using a typical set of organizational objectives, appropriate accountability measures and their uses are suggested. Uses of desirable conflicts are then proposed in order to attain timely data entry and reliability of information. Some example system characteristics are proposed to illustrate the support of objectives and utilization of conflicts. These include issues of profit center and cost center accounting, including transfer pricing on fees and costs, integration of manpower planning with estimates to complete, and use of system information as a single data source.

Subject Headings: Information systems | Information management | Structural engineering | Business organizations | Matrix (mathematics) | Profits | Pricing | Fees | Michigan | United States

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