Engineering Management is a specialized form of management that is concerned with the application of engineering principles to business practice. Engineering management often leads to a career that brings together the technological problem-solving abilities of engineering and the organizational, administrative, and planning abilities of management in order to oversee complex systems from conception to completion. Technology management, as a sub-set of engineering management, is a specialized professional practice that captures technology-based innovation opportunities. It guides technological progress, assesses the potential of individual technologies and uses this potential to the benefit of business, society and the environment. It distinguishes five generic processes: a) identification of technologies, which are (or may be) of importance to the business (or context); b) selection of technologies that should be supported by the organization or institution; c) acquisition and assimilation of selected technologies; d) exploitation of technologies to generate profit, or other benefits; and e) protection of knowledge and expertise embedded in systems.
Engineering (and technology) management includes fields such as:
- Project management
- Risk management
- Quality management
- Performance management
- Operations management
- Asset management
- Innovation management
However, the research group focuses on the transition to a more sustainable economy and society, which will place an emphasis on the management of infrastructure and technology, including the planning and design thereof. This, in turn, requires trans-disciplinary, integrated approaches; since our academic and industrial organisations have great expertise in system components, but still lack experience with the management of the ‘systems of systems’ that constitute our infrastructure and technology at the total societal level. This research group then aims to improve our understanding, and develop the associated capacities and capabilities, of how technical, economic, political and other socio-ecological factors interact, particularly in the context of great uncertainties as we embark on the transition.
The research efforts then include fields such as:
- Life cycle assessment
- System thinking
- Systems dynamics modelling
- Decision-analysis and -making
The following lists all ongoing or completed research projects:
- Technology transfer of hand pumps in rural communities of Swaziland: Towards sustainable project lifecycle management.
- From enterprise development to inclusive innovation – a framework for regional innovation support.
- An investigation into the effectiveness of an environmental management system (EMS) in the South African petrochemical industry.
- Investigating the financial close of projects within the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
- An investigation into the normalisation of water and energy use in breweries.
- Embedding sustainability into business values: A South African retail case study.
- The diversity of the practice of corporate sustainability: An exploratory study in the South African business sector.
- A roadmap for developing a competitive CSP industry in South Africa: Current gaps and recommended next steps.
- A comparison of Solar Aided Power Generation (SAPG) and stand-alone concentrating solar power (CSP): A South African case study.
- Assessing the sustainability of wastewater treatment technologies in the petrochemical industry.
- Application of a multi-criteria analysis approach for decision-making: The case of concentrating solar power in South Africa.
- An investigation into the effectiveness of corporate sustainability programmes and initiatives in the agricultural sector: The case of British American Tobacco Zimbabwe.
- Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Job Creation: An investigation of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
- Natural building in South Africa: Assessing the niche-regime relationship through a ‘latent niche’ mediation.
- Macroeconomic analysis for on-site electricity generation from renewable resources by large-scale consumers in South Africa.
- A systems approach to understanding the effect of Facebook use on the quality of interpersonal communication.
- Utility-scale PV power and energy supply outlook for South Africa in 2015.
- Concentrating Solar Power: Improving electricity cost and security of supply, and other economic benefits.
- Modelling the transition towards a green economy in South Africa, and in the Western Cape Province.
- Technology assessment in developing countries: Sustainable energy systems in the African context.
The following lists the institutions with which the group collaborates on projects:
- Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies, Stellenbosch University.
- School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University.
- Sustainability Institute.
- University of Stellenbosch Business School.
- Graduate School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria.
- Postgraduate School of Engineering Management, University of Johannesburg.
- Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town.
- South African System Dynamics Chapter.