Positioning for Success

by Brian J. Lewis, (F.ASCE), Principal; The Coxe Group, Two Mellon Bank Center, Philadelphia, PA 19101,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1987, Vol. 57, Issue 1, Pg. 42-44

Document Type: Feature article


A model, called the SuperPositioning Model, for successful management of engineering design firms is discussed which allows firms to be categorized within a matrix bounded by two primary drivers—their engineering design technology (how they do their work) and their values (the primary reward thrusts or motivations of the owners). Technologies are separated into strong idea, strong service, and strong delivery. Values are divided between practice centered business and business centered practice. The firm's design technology affects the optimal way it should handle project design, project decision making, middle and lower level staffing, markets, what it sells, what it can charge, and best management style. Its choice of values impacts the organization structure, organization decision-making, staffing at the top, how it markets, best clients, marketing organization, profit strategy, rewards and management style. Firms that optimize their strategies for these elements to match their choice of drivers are observed to perform better for their clients and in terms of their own satisfaction.

Subject Headings: Business organizations | Driver behavior | Project management | Decision making | Client relationships | Optimization models | Matrix (mathematics) | Thrust

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