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Power and Communication: Solving Power Problems for Collaboration in Globally Distributed Engineering Design Teams

[+] Author Affiliations
Kenneth David, John R. Lloyd, Timothy J. Hinds

Michigan State University

Paper No. IMECE2005-80060, pp. 73-78; 6 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4232-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


Because outsourcing and offshoring operations entail multi-site operations and inter-organizational alliances, they require effective boundary-spanning partnerships: inter-divisional, inter-organizational, and often, multi-country partnerships. This paper reports a multi-discipline research study—involving engineering, anthropology and telecommunications elements—on dispersed global engineering design teams. A framework involving power, culture, and collaborative activity is introduced. The focus here is on power and communications issues. Co-oriented, collaborative project activity is achieved when power issues are neutralized. When sub-team members perceive inequity, they frequently respond adversely. They may purposely create miscommunications among sub-teams, covertly subvert project goals, or otherwise act in ways that reduce project performance. Outsourcing of engineering design operations is a major challenge for the engineering profession. Outsourcing activity to India and China has increased; educational systems in these countries both improve in quality and augment the quantity of engineers produced. Traditional engineering skills are swiftly becoming a commodity in the global market.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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