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Managing and Engineering Complex Technological Systems by Shuki Stauber, Avigdor Zonnenshain

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Chapter 1.3

The Systems Engineer as Manager and Leader

We began the foreword to this book with the statement that “as a discipline in the making, systems engineering connects between classical engineering and organizational and management-oriented systems.” Now, we seek to examine the combination of these two content worlds: one technical, physical, and accurate; the other behavioral and amorphous.

Prof. Joe Kasser believes that systems engineering is not a profession, but a discipline, a collection of work patterns. In his eyes, “systems engineering is the management tool of the 21st century; a different management method that includes tools and techniques suited for each case.” According to this perception, nonengineers can adopt these work patterns too.

Not all the experts we have spoken with support this position.

Ovadia Harari contends that “a systems engineer is, first and foremost, a technical man, who has to deal with lateral, technical, management issues. He must combine engineering skills with management abilities. He cannot succeed without the combination of these two components.”

Norman Augustine may agree with the statement that systems engineering is a management tool, but he stresses that “systems engineering is more engineering than management, it is a type of engineering that can handle ‘non-physical’ matters as well.” He adds that, because systems engineering often includes more than mere technical skills, many engineers are frustrated by it, having no desire ...

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