Designing in young organisations: engineering change propagation in a university design project

Roberto Duran-Novoa*, Joerg D. Weigl, Martin Henz, Edwin C.Y. Koh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Engineering change (EC) is an important phenomenon in the design of products and systems, accounting for nearly one-third of the work effort; however, the literature has been focused on mature firms, and few studies have documented the impact of EC beyond them. Hence, we use a case study approach to study EC and its propagation in the context of a university design project as an example of young organisations, and compare it with the existing work done on mature firms. It was found that 33% of the changes that occurred in the case study were planned, and change propagation accounted for 20% of all changes. The propagation of changes was usually one step (67%), and it was concentrated in one independent network (54%). The results were subsequently compared with EC studies done in mature firms, being revealed that EC behaves differently in the context of a university design project; hence, existing change management tools developed to suit mature firms may not be directly suitable for supporting university design projects. The findings from this work can be used as a platform to better understand how EC propagates when designing in young organisations and shape the development of appropriate change management tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-506
Number of pages18
JournalResearch in Engineering Design
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is funded by the EDIC Seed Fund (R-261-503-003-133), National University of Singapore. An abridged version of this work was presented at the 14th International Design Conference 2016. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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