‘We Play the Music, You Dance'. Perceptions of Engineering Professionals to New Managerialism and Its Implications on Work Organisation.

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:35
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Farai MAUNGANIDZE, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
There is scarcity of empirical work in the human resources management and sociology of work literature on changes in the engineering profession and its impact on work processes, especially in Southern Africa. This paper’s aim is to address this gap by arguing that human resource practitioners need to be more familiar with the engineers’ perceptions on new managerialism which is a product of the changing environment. These reconfigurations are exerting pressure on organisations to be more efficient and transparent in their operations. This qualitative study adopted a grounded theory approach in order to understand and appreciate arguments as directly experienced by the actors themselves, professional engineers. Data were collected from interviews and documents. Purposive sampling was used to come up with a sample of seven engineers. Documents were collected from academic institutions, the professional body as well as from other sources such as conferences and summits of different relevant stakeholders. The findings of the study have revealed that engineers are not comfortable reporting to a manager who does not have an engineering profession. In order to indirectly deal with the notion of new managerialism, the study has revealed that some engineers have resorted to enrol for some business and management related programmes such as Masters in Business Administration. It was also interesting to note that some engineers highlighted that the notion of new managerialism allowed them a reduction in supervision because their managers (non engineers) would be unaware of the details of the profession. Such a scenario, thereby allowed incomplete and shoddy work because the managers who are non-engineers may not be in a position to properly supervise the expert engineer. New managerialism is there in the engineering profession, engineers themselves do not approve of it; they see it as encroaching on their professional autonomy and professional standards of work.