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Engineering Management Essay


In this report, the analysis was undertaken to investigate managing in an organization. Using group contacts we were able to come into contact with Dr. Smith, a manager at Telstra. After comparing textbook management techniques we discovered that the interviewee alternated between several of these with giving staff incentives to be independent in their work a major factor of his management. We also concluded that diversity makes management more flexible and allows creativity to flourish in the workplace.


1.1 Background information and Aim

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This is a report on the interview that was conducted with Dr. Bernard Smith of Telstra on Friday, 30th August. The interview was aimed to find out various details about being a manager. These included, management styles, models and philosophies used, what a manager does and problems that arise as a manager.

Dr. Smith is the section head of the Access Networks section of Telstra, Australia¡¦s largest telecommunications provider. There are four or five levels of management above Dr. Smith who is at the lowest level of formal management [1].

His section contains about 25 people under him. Access Networks is part of the Telstra Research Laboratories in Clayton and conducts research on the access part of the telecommunications network. This mainly deals with the part of the network between the customer and the nearest exchange [1]. Including transmission line and interference research for cable and ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) [2].

He manages a range of people. Some have similar skills who he can work closely with such and electronics and protocols people. And some work in areas he knows very little about such as metallurgists and chemists who test corrosion of cables. He also manages workers who test the application of the research findings to see what the customer will experience.

1.2 Sources and Methodology

The interview was organized through a contact at Telstra, Phil Potter, who was the father of one of the group members. Dr. Potter talked to Dr. Smith who we intended to interview and found if he was willing to be interviewed and what times were free in his timetable. From these times we chose an interview time when most of our group could be there. This was 11:00 am on Friday 30th August.

We decided that we would all come up with questions separately then bring them together before revising them. We aimed the questions to find various things about the style of management and management philosophies used by Dr. Smith as well as the problem solving and the communication side of management. The questions were mainly open-ended and aimed to achieve long responses.

We met for a group meeting at 10:00 on Friday to finalize questions. At 10:30 we drove to Telstra Research Laboratories where we met with Dr. Potter at the gatehouse. He gave a brief tour of the section managed by Dr. Smith.

After the tour, we added a few questions. The interview was held in an informal way in the tea room on the couches at 11:00 am. The interview lasted about 50 minutes and was recorded on minidisc and later transcribed onto a computer.

Body of Report

2.1 Dr. Smith

Communication with a manager is important, the worst thing is if something is not going well and they don’t tell anybody. A good manager is someone who can manage himself and also communicate with his own staff [1].

“Dr. Smith managers ¡§a group of about twenty-five people¡” [1] with whom he has contact on a daily basis. There are a few different sections of people under him including metallurgists, chemists into the corrosion as well as people in electronics and protocols. On many occasions as a manager, he doesn’t have skills in all these areas, just a minor understanding so has to trust his staff¡¦s abilities [1].

“There is a lot of minutiae IT which fills in the day, signing off peoples Dinners Club forms¡¨ [1]. Dr. Smith mentioned he places people in an area that maximizes their output, which may be a project or work that interests them so has to make those decisions and judgements on people constantly, which may seem a small job but a very important one.

He also reads through reports compiled by his staff and brings out the more important information. Setting the initial direction of the work is an enjoyable challenge for him [1] and he also mentions that dealing with people issues is among the harder jobs for him.

2.2 Communication Structure

With all of these chores _______ has to communicate with his staff on a constant basis which includes a “diversity” of formal and informal communication. First of all they have a meeting every month where the manager tells the staff how they a preforming and which part they needed to improve. During the meeting, _____ acts as if he is just talking to friends.

Dr Smith also has a few formal meetings with his superiors, for example there is a monthly report he must attend very soon where he will have to report his teams progress and any issues of concern [1].

There are also a few different types of informal communication between the manager and his staff. The main form which was mentioned on a few occasions was when they take a break after yum cha period. They have a chart during the tea time. ¡§The pay comes out every week and I just send it on to everybody very quickly¡¨.

Dr Smith told us he didn’t think the majority of his communication was oral. This disagrees with “Almost three-quarters of our total time spent is on oral communication” [3], he thinks e-mails and the Telstra Intranet take the majority. It seems with all the meetings, grabbing people in corridors, listening to progress reports a just general friendly conversation, he would communicate a lot more orally than he thought on the spot at the time of the interview.

Informal communication, although not as many different types, seemed to be the main form of communication. This is what is expected and what happens in nearly all organizations. Formal communication used mainly to pass information between staff above him, passing on instructions, new policies and expectations to the levels below him.

Also in the opposite direction passing on progress reports and the problems of his staff, to his managers. He is used as a very important channel between these levels that don’t have contact on a daily basis. It can also be seen that there are very definite channels of communications in Dr. Smith’s section where communication “occurs across formal hierarchical lines” [3], showing he has contact with everyone under him with an issue concerning them.

2.3 Staff Motivation

Motivation is one of the key aspects of having productive staff and as such numerous psychologists have researched into what motivates the individual, notably Maslow (1954) and Herzberg (1966). Motivation is the internal force that drives a person towards the attainment of a particular goal which is quite apart from their ability in performing the goal. Maslow proposed that motivation is maximized by meeting a hierarchy of needs (figure one). This theory requires lower order needs to be met significantly before higher-order needs can be achieved [3].

Herzberg¡¦s theory is that needs can be placed into two categories; satisfiers which when met improve motivation and when not met do nothing for motivation, and dissatisfiers which when met do nothing to motivation but when not met de-motivate staff, these were termed hygiene factors.

In our interview with Dr Smith, several motivation techniques were found. Travelling managers were in place ¡§to show the flag, show the face¡¨ [1]. This meets Maslows Social belongingness motivator as well as Herzberg’s hygiene factor, this seems to be one of the few assertive actions that Dr Smith presented though this is obviously not in his department. A trial of a technique similar to this was where the managers of each department would give out apples to their staff, this presented a social communication between the management and staff where issues not directly involving work were discussed.

This didn¡¦t last very long as it was time-consuming and counter-productive as some staff saw it as ¡§trickery or (a) simplistic¡¨ [1] way to win them over. Some current activities in place at the moment to achieve the same end are staff ¡§celebrations¡¨ and monthly awards amongst the laboratories.

Dr. Smith believes the best way to his abilities to motivate his staff is to ¡§motivate by technology rather than management¡¨ [1] since all the staffs are scientists or engineers they have already proven they are motivated by these things (having completed a degree in precisely this area).

He states that his job is to ¡§try and motivate by putting people in an area which maximizes their output¡¨ [1]. This particular aspect of motivation does not seem to be mentioned in Maslow¡¦s theory but perhaps may be grouped into self-actualization. Herzberg places this down to Job challenge and states this as a growth need.

Dr. Smith also relies on ¡§peoples innate enthusiasm, energy and motivation¡¨ [1] and this is because in their laboratories they ¡§tend not to be strong motivators¡¨ [1] just ¡§strong thinkers¡¨ [1]. There is a review system in place where annual reviews are taken and bonuses go out but this ¡§incentive¡¨ [1] is not ¡§relied on¡¨ [1]. The major incentive is ¡§the satisfaction of doing the job and seeing it accepted by the customers¡¨ [1]. This motivation system could be attributed to Maslows Esteem aspect of motivation and Herzbergs Recognition factor.

Dr. Smith places a high degree of responsibility on staff where ever it is warranted because their aim is for people to ¡§take the initiative¡¨ [1] This gives them a higher sense of accomplishment at the end of a project.

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An aspect of motivation that is painfully not met in the organization is job security having to lose six people last year along with the fact the company has changed dramatically over the years from the public, where job security was ¡§guarantied¡¨ [3], to semi-private.

This caused “a shock” [1] amongst staff and there are extra pressures on the “older staff” [1] because of this dramatic change in the organization structure, goals, and priorities, which may not meet that of the staff when they began. Security is the second most basic need in Maslow¡¦s hierarchy and no doubt falls under working conditions in Herzberg¡¦s.

2.4 Dr. Smiths personal motivation

Dr. Smith personal motivation was in ¡§seeing individual people blossom and change¡¨ and ¡§being responsible for a group, shaping the group, representing the group and being part of the group.¡¨ [1] along with enjoying some of the problems faced as a manager, eg. “setting the initial direction of the work” [1]. He also mentioned that as you get into management “you lose touch with some of the technologies and become deskilled” [1] and that you need to “know yourself and know what you like doing so at stages in one’s career you can pick something that you can do happily and what you want to be” [1] thus you stay motivated by your individual choices. In his interview, he stresses diversity, and the diverse ways he must deal with other people, this is true as needs differ greatly between individuals and can change markedly over time [3]. Therein lies the talent of a good manager.

2.5 Management Philosophy

Any organization revolves around management; it is one of the key aspects of running a business. As such, lots of research and analysis has gone into making it more productive and efficient. This has led to work in Management Philosophy and Management Styles.

Frederick Taylor was a mechanical engineer whose writings on efficiency and Scientific Management Philosophy were widely read [3]. He attempted to achieve the maximum output from workers by mainly focusing on increased efficiency of tasks. However, Henri Fayol, rather than focusing on increased efficiency of the task, based his principles on the management structure of all large organizations [3], the goal of which was to bring about an efficient and effective organization.

Fayol wrote during the same time as Taylor. Though, whereas Taylor was concerned with management at the supervisor level and used the scientific method, Fayol¡¦s attention was directed at the activities of all managers, and he wrote from his personal experience [3]. He broke up management into the following categories:

  • To forecast and plan: Examine the future and draw up plans of action
  • To organise: Build up the structure, material and human of the undertaking
  • To command: Maintain activity among the personnel
  • To co-ordinate: Bind together, unify and harmonize activity and effort
  • To control: See that everything occurs in conformity with policy and practice

During the interview, the interviewee told us that they would use ¡§all styles¡¨ [1] of management within their laboratory and the Telstra Company. The reason for this is that many people have come from outside, from different industries. It¡¦s harder to try and change styles and attitudes when you¡¦ve only ever worked in a controlled environment (i.e. the public Telstra), but those people who come from outside bring a different perspective so styles have changed.

2.6 Dr. Smith’s Management Styles

Definition of Leadership:

Managerial Leadership is the process of directing and influencing the task-related activities of group members. There are three important implications of the definition [4].

(1) Leadership must involve other people ¡V subordinates or followers. By their willingness to accept directions from the leader, group members help define the leader¡¦s status and make the leadership process possible. Without subordinates, all the leadership qualities of a manager would be irrelevant.

(2) Leadership involves an unequal distribution of power among leaders and group members. Leaders have the authority to direct some of the activities of group members, who cannot similarly direct the leader¡¦s activities. Nonetheless, group members obviously affect those activities in several ways.

(3) As well as being legitimately able to give their subordinates or followers direction, leaders can also wield influence. In other words, leaders not only can tell their subordinates what to do but can also influence how subordinates carry out those instructions. For example, a manager may direct a subordinate to perform a certain task, but it may be his or her influence over the subordinate that determines whether the task is carried out properly.

Generally, skilful managers will adapt their style or will choose the type of behaviour, which is most effective for each different situation.

(1) Autocratic: decision making, where the manager develops options, collects information, and makes the decision [3].

Referring to the interview, Dr. Smith had stated that ¡§technical professionals (contract workers) may work daily where at the start of the day it¡¦s like: this is your task, and at the end of the day there is a report¡¨ [1]. This shows an autocratic management style on behalf of Dr. Smith in respect to the contract workers. This is no doubt the most efficient way to get their work done since they are motivated by money (obviously) and do not need finite details on how their work may be implemented.

(2) Consultative: decision making, where the manager shares the problem with staff individually, getting their ideas and suggestions, then makes decision [3].

This style, it seemed, was used often within the laboratories where the ¡§overall the aim is for people to take the initiative, when we measure people self initiative is one of the key thing¡¨ [1]. This style of management allows staff to have a larger input on the direction of work and get motivated by this input. Here it can be shown that the ability to ¡§take the initiative¡¨ is highly efficient and is rewarded as such.

(3) Participative: decision making, where the problems are shared with staff as a group, then make the decision [3].

This was quite often during a project where ongoing research might change the aim of the project. Communication in this area is of vital importance where: ¡§communication with the manager is important¡¨ [1]. ¡§A good manager is someone who can manage himself and also communicate with his own staff¡¨ [1].

(4) Democratic decision making, where the problems are shared with staff as a group, and together, the group generates alternative solutions and come to a consensus on the solution to be adopted [3].

Due to the variety of staff credentials it is impossible for a technical problem to be solved democratically. It was stated however, that in the annual surveys staff were given the option of suggesting improvements within the company [1], which could be considered a democratic system.

2.7 Company Management Style

The company style of Telstra has changed vastly over recent years with being a public service and now a semi-private company. The earlier style ¡§you might say the traditional area where public servants come from is more controlling and perhaps a bit negative in style and reactive and more concerned about negative outcomes rather than creative and open¡¨ [1] has been changed to one of which trusts staffs abilities [1], and gives the more ¡§responsibility for themselves¡¨.

3.0 Conclusion and insights
The interview gave us the chance to view a real engineering manager in the workplace and we found that correlations between several management ideas were implemented. Through speaking to Dr. Smith about his work we were able to clarify our own outlook to what an engineering manager does as well as the implementation of motivation and organization theories in an organization. The most important thing stressed in the interview was the diversity of his staff and colleagues, which led to the wide range of techniques to organize, motivate and drive his employees.

4.0 Reference List

[1] Dr Bernard Smith, Interview, 30/8/2002 11:05am to 11:50am
[2] Dr Phil Potter, Telstra contact, 30/8/2002 10:30am
[3] Roslyn Rimmington, Engineering Management A, Mi-Tec Publishing, 2001
[4] Stoner, Yetton, Craig and Johnson, Management 2nd edition, Prentice Hall 1998

5.0 Appendixes

5.1 Appendix One: Interview Transcript

Info about the company.

We are part of Telstra, which as you know is one of the largest companies in Australia. It is growing out of the incumbent of the original fully government-owned telecommunication company.

Here we are at Telstra research laboratories which is a group of about 250 people imbedded in the total company and my particular group is a group called Access Networks, which is a group of about twenty-five people who research or do advanced technology work on the access part of the Telstra network, which is largely that part of the customer to the nearest switching exchange.

What sort of communication structure exists between you and your staff as well as you and your seniors.
There is a series of both formal and informal communication. Firstly I¡¦m at the lowest level of formal management, so there are about four or five layers above me. The communication varies over a whole range of ways, there are emails, typically some notice comes out and I just send it on to everybody very quickly. We have a formal meeting every month for the project section group.

We also have ad hoc meetings, so you may want to address some issue that has arisen so I¡¦ll organize a meeting on the run. So there is a series of both formal and informal electronic and face to face meetings as required so it¡¦s a diversity not just one simple way. And then there are more structured reporting in a sense where people record their hours that they put on a project. There is also monthly reporting to which we¡¦re just in the process now of revising where people go through their projects and key information into a template, I might have a chat with them on how we may modify some aspect of the project.

Is it more formal with you and the higher people than with people in this section?

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I think it is both, for example, there is the monthly report, there is a meeting next Wednesday where I will have to report all of my team’s monthly outputs and issues. And that¡¦s a formal meeting. And there are other meetings where you just grab people in corridors, or maybe workshops, there was a special workshop half a day yesterday for the section managers and people above them where we were discussing fairly major issues, so there was sort of an ad-hoc workshop.

So it is really a diversity and I guess in terms of becoming managers there is no simple one way to have any particular skills, at one time you’ll be running meetings or communicate face to face, for example often key staff development issues are private to myself and the person involved so that clearly has to be face to face, and one-on-one in private because of issues there, for example, you may be telling someone there needs to be some major changes in their performance or behaviour. In extreme cases earlier last year we made six positions redundant and for the people including myself involved that is a fairly traumatic process.

So more important things are generally one-on-one?

Another point is there is generally a style too, there is a style issue too. This doesn¡¦t apply to me directly, some managers may have people in different states so even getting a manager to see people a couple of times a year may be quite a problem in terms of travel costs, so there¡¦s an issue there, as the travel budget may not be enough money to get around, to show the flag show the face.

Would the majority of your day mostly be verbal communication?

No, I wouldn¡¦t want to say that necessary, e-mails often a good thing, you can e-mail very quickly in your own time whereas if you phone up people, they’re never at their office. But I do like to see people face-to-face most of the time but on balance often somebody will just send me an e-mail. So this has obviously changed in recent years as well as the formal recording of minutes and official memos have reduced.

We previously had piles of official papers on our desks for record-keeping but as technology has changed the style of working has changed a lot. So the communication process itself has changed with technology. We have now a Telstra intranet that is almost a dominant part of a day’s work, operating on that and reading things and using that to communicate.

I¡¦d like to ask you a couple of questions about you as a manager. So how did you get into your current position?
A lot of people in our laboratories are technologists driven by technical issues and that¡¦s what we¡¦re keen about so often many people don¡¦t come with a desire to become a manager, you tend to come in a junior engineer and you do your things then you may be given a small project to be the leader of and then a bigger project leader. So often the process of becoming a manager in our laboratories is almost by default a normal stage, you don¡¦t say I want to become the head of this section.

Does it pick you out more than you pick it?

Well people above you leave, resign or do other things, then you suddenly find your next inline for this position.

So it¡¦s your experience with the work that your staff does, that has allowed you to become a manager?
Yes, we are a laboratory and there is a distinction here. I’m labelled a section manager and above me, there are general managers who typically are research people. The feeling is a general manager in a sense they move around a fair bit and perhaps have a broader range of skills and not as tied to a particular technical area.

But it is true if they have got the skills people will tend to be promoted from the team to management unless they consciously decide otherwise in which case people may be motivated by technology rather than necessary management. Other areas of Telstra managing vigorously people like line staff and those sorts of people where the managing role is more capitalizing and seen as more controlling and those people see themselves as managers in a much more general sense than associated with technology in a research environment.

Do you still use much of your engineering degree in your work? Practical aspects or conceptual?

In our laboratories my job is still to approve output like a report has to come through me, I generally trust people but at some point, I must make decisions there. I¡¦ve got to allocate people, make technical judgments about people all the time. A key part is also deciding on all the key areas we work on, how much our resources and what areas are upcoming and what areas are to wind down which involves a knowledge of the technology.

Now it¡¦s a stretch for me because our group is a fairly wide ranging one we¡¦ve got metallurgists, and chemists into corrosion of cables and that sort of thing. We¡¦ve got other people who are into electronics and protocols (tcp and that sort of thing) and others in the application of this (how customers perceive how fast you’re downloading something).

So I can’t be a top professional in all those areas, my knowledge of chemistry dates back to year 12 so those people I cant critique very closely, but in my own electrical background I can, so there is a trust in my staff’s abilities. The use of engineering allows me to ask the bigger questions and to interpret things, as well as the analytic ability to sift through the finer details and tees out the key issues (eg impact).

Have you undertaken any training/courses that the company has arranged for you as a manager?

Yes, we used to have one or two-week management courses, which brings up the question ¡§can you learn management in a course?¡¨, this was slightly more formal material as well as exercises and games. These have been cut back a bit now because they cost a lot of money, but often people are sent off on courses to do formal MBA¡¦s as well as single-day specialty courses on interviewing for example.

Do you have any personal goals in your work as a manager?

There are two classes of goals. We have to deliver almost monthly to clients where we produce results and interpret them for them, as well as health and safety and many legal aims, so there is that sort of ongoing goal. And then there are broader goals like changing directions and reflective ones like; are we caught up in the shorter term work and routine things (testing) rather than longer-term bigger perspective and technological leadership. Thus there is the day to day goals and the more strategic goals.

What would be your highest priority and how do you prioritize your time?

Priorities. First of all, you don¡¦t have a lot of freedom as it turns out. A lot of events occur in which you just have to be there or provide something with these things cant be prioritized because they must be done. You find as people become more senior managers their priorities are more determined by processes and ongoing meetings and a number of things where the secretary controls their diary. So you quite often have to squeeze in as often as you can, with things popping out of the woodwork that you have to take care of straight away. Thus there is no simple logical way to prioritize the day, priorities continuously change.

Can you give some of the pros and cons of being a manager?

This is a very personal question. This gets into issues of peoples personalities, I don¡¦t know if at school you¡¦ve come across Miers-Biggs looking at peoples personalities, so let’s look at it in terms of what drives people. Some people are just interested in a better payout, while other people like to control people and issues so for those people with that personality one of the pros would be they can control. The money is a bit better but after-tax, it’s really not that much and when you¡¦re a manager you lose touch with some of the technologies and become deskilled.

I believe it’s also an age thing, while your young you tend to enjoy the technologies and enjoy the need to change a bit as years go by. As a manager there is also a lot of satisfaction in running groups and getting satisfaction in delivering as a group and seeing individual people blossom and change, to put them on a certain project and see how they go. There is satisfaction in being responsible for a group, shaping the group, representing the group and being part of the group, moving around, monitoring and motivating along with the ability to change their careers so there are a lot of pros and cons there.

At a personal level, as you get older you reflect on things a little more some people are controllers, other people are analysts (lots of engineers, motivated by problem-solving), others are supporters (motivated by group success), marketing (enjoy the process of being upfront and selling. Managers can be in a combination of these categories thus often the pros and cons are dependent on the individual. To me, you must know yourself and know what you like doing so at stages in one¡¦s career you can pick something that you can do happily and what you want to be and not be force in the wrong direction.

What sort of problems have you faced as a manager? People or technical.

I think the biggest problems with a capital P are ultimately people problems. In recent years we’ve downsized a fair bit so there are pressures on staff because of the resource problems, fewer people to do the same amount of work. There are problems for example setting the initial direction of the work as an issue, a problem, but I sort of enjoy it, while other people might find they are uncomfortable dealing with a difficult start.

Generally, I believe people’s problems become the bigger issues. Also, managers seem to get the harder problems if it’s not an issue it will be sorted out at the project level and the more difficult problems rise to the top thus as a manager get higher up the management line they get the harder problems because the easier problems would have been sorted out at the lower levels. For example, right now there is an issue with the industrial relations involving one of our staff members made redundant last year which leads me to spend much of my time with barristers while my initial background is in engineering not law.

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Are there company policies for motivating staff? And do you have an active role in the motivation of your staff?
In our laboratories we tend not to be strong motivators, we tend to be strong thinkers and researchers so our people skills may not be quite as strong as other areas. But a lot of people don¡¦t need that they are motivated by the technologies they deal with and the problems they face while some people are very heavy motivators of themselves.

I don’t know, we have formal processes where we give them reviews but we mostly rely on people’s innate enthusiasm, energy and motivation. These are big factors as how people perform is attributed to their motivation, enthusiasm, energy and commitment not just their academic knowledge.

Thus part of my job is to park people where they are best at like a backroom researcher may be best, while other people are very strong at communicating and they go out and talk to clients so I try and motivate by putting people in an area which maximizes their output. There¡¦s also that some of the older guys are a bit cynical and are not easily taken on by trickery or simplistic things like waving flags.

Are there any incentives for the performance of staff?

We have annual reviews and bonuses go along with it, that¡¦s an incentive, but by the time it’s allocated and tax is taken out you could debate how big it is. Some of the staff might go out some time to celebrate, or there may be a monthly award for winning the top highlight for our group out of all the laboratories, so there are some of those things. I believe for most people the incentive is the satisfaction of doing the job and seeing it accepted by the customers. So it¡¦s the satisfaction of doing a job, having it recognized and seeing it in use.

Are there any major pressures or discomforts for the staff?

I’ll tell you the pressures, certainly for the older staff here we joined a pure government organization with job security guaranteed. A lot of people it¡¦s a shock when we became partly private, as you know with the six people (losing their jobs) last year. Some people have been here for 30-40 years even before there was a group called BMG so there are quite different views throughout the company because of their age and background.

I’d like to ask about auditing, how much does the staff do their own thing in the projects and how much do you have to intervene?

When I joined it was very much the traditional public service, where you worked rigid hours. Now we like people to take responsibility for themselves which gives them flexible hours, we are more focused on their output. Is that sort of what you were after in the question?

Not quite I wanted to know if during the project you just see the end product or have an ongoing involvement.
Once again it varies a lot and of course one of the things is that people who can take responsibility for the project run with it, where there would be loose communication with the manager or project leader. While technical professionals (contract workers) may workdays where at the start of the day it¡¦s like: this is your task and at the end of the day there is a report.

Overall the aim is for people to take the initiative, when we measure people, assess, self-initiative is one of the key things. Also, communication with the manager is important, the worst thing is if something is not going well and they don¡¦t tell anybody. A good manager is someone who can manage himself and also communicate with his own staff.

At the start of a project do you get together with the project leaders and plan what is going to happen, or do you just hand them the project and let them handle it from then on?

The keyword here is Project, a lot of our work is labelled as projects and we need to do certain things which is generally left up to the project leaders but most of our work is on an ongoing basis with our clients. So there are less formal management controlled projects that need a clear path to reach goals.

So it’s sort of let open for people to come out with new things and add specs to things?

Well we do, that would be the aim of the place, we are a research laboratory. So an issue with me is strategical, what are we doing. So as you mentioned before, how do I balance my time is it looking at these big strategic pictures or is it the day-by-day reporting and local control things. There is a lot of minutiae IT which fills in the day, signing off peoples Dinners Club forms, there¡¦s a lot of IT things.

There’s a lot of processing, software packages are brought in to record time and a whole lot of thing, these things cause complications and there¡¦s a lot of that kind of thing that goes on as well. And there are a lot of things that are, mundane is not the right word, but necessary things, but overall it¡¦s fun you take the good with the bad but overall people issues tend to pop up are the harder ones in a sense.

What management styles and models do you and the company use?

The answer would be all styles I guess, I really believe people’s styles are a function of their individuality. But I guess in some industries some companies certainly have company styles, more aggressive or some other styles. You might say the traditional area where public servants come from is more controlling and perhaps a bit negative in style and reactive and more concerned about negative outcomes rather than creative and open, so there are styles we¡¦ve been trying to change, I think we have changed.

Partly the change in Telstra over the years is people have come from outside, from different industries, and when you go from government control to a competitive company with share market prices and stuff it¡¦s harder to try and change styles and attitudes when you¡¦ve only ever worked in a controlled environment, but those people who come from outside bring a different perspective so styles have changed.

Well is that it?
Yeh that¡¦s about it.
You can keep going.

What things are in the working environment for the comfort of the employees?

We rate fairly high in terms of our work conditions physically in fact we have an annual employee opinion survey and we score fairly high in terms of just the physical environment. There¡¦s not much in the way of staff clubs and things, I think people themselves make their own activities, some go off and play sport, tennis, squash and the like. But none of it is formal.

There have been some things like best of health which was a program where there were some lectures and courses, so there are from time to time something¡¦s to do together. We were giving out some apples at one time and it was up to the managers to pass them around. So I would say there is a diverse range of things but socially people don¡¦t use the company as such, they have time outside for their own endeavours.

5.2 Appendix Two: Interview Prompt Sheet

Company info:
Department info:
Communication structure:
Manager info:
How/why did he get the job
Working knowledge/previous experience
The use of engineering at work, technical/conceptual
Personal skills possessed that help in manager
Training undertaken as a manager
Priorities & prioritising
Problem solving
Employee assessment
Pros and cons of being a manager
Problems faced as a manger and how were they overcome
Outline of a typical day
Employee info
Types pf people under him
Structure of people under him
Value of Group work vs individual work
Short vs long projects
Specialised people,
Contract workers, effect on groups
Start and finish of a project
How does he organise the information and planning
Does he take an active roll in motivate staff
Is it company policies that he implements or his own
What if any incentives does he give staff who do a good job
What does he do to aid production from staff
What are the major pressures and causes of discomfort in his staff
What is done to help this
Social behaviour
Does the company promote social activities
What are the reasons for doing this
Do you as the manager partake in these as well
Working environment:
What things are present in the working environment to raise the comfort of the employees.
Eg air conditioners, plants, daylight,
What things are there to aid the production of the staff
Better computers, good IT servicing

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Engineering Management Essay. (2021, Feb 01). Retrieved March 24, 2023, from