Management Keys: Freedom to Create, Responsibility for Failure

by Merja Lehtinen, Prod. Ed.; Civil Engineering�� ASCE, New York, N.Y. 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1981, Vol. 51, Issue 7, Pg. 57-59

Document Type: Feature article


Management policies for inventors and engineers are reviewed in this interview with Professor Dan Pletta, University Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Professor Pletta outlines past and present patent policies and explains how reforms in the rewards system could lead to increased productivity, better industrial management, fewer regulations, and lower taxes. Pletta also emphasizes that inventors and engineers should be responsible for failures. In the latter case, the engineer should also have the last say for technical decisions to assure that the best solution is always chosen in light of safety, efficiency, and benefits to society. This also requires that engineers be better trained in management techniques and leadership skills.

Subject Headings: Faculty | Failure analysis | Colleges and universities | Taxation | Safety | Leadership | Laws and regulations

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