Linking Historical Roots and Current Methodologies of Engineering Systems
Author(s)Santen, Nidhi R.; Wood, Danielle
This paper reviews the historical context and present impact of two sets of literature: the work of Joseph Schumpeter and the field of Strategy Development. Schumpeter’s theories about the impact of technology or innovation on the economy are an important input into modern Engineering Systems (ES) thinking. Meanwhile, Strategy Development is an active contemporary methodology that is relevant to Engineering Systems. Both Schumpeter and the scholars in Strategy Development are concerned with how firms perform, but Schumpeter's approach is descriptive while Strategy Development is prescriptive. The approach in this paper is as follows. It first introduces the theories of Schumpeter on innovation and the major ideas within Strategy Development. Next, two historical reviews are presented. One review looks forward to find the impact that Schumpeter has had on modern fields; the second review looks backward to understand the roots of Strategy Development. These historical reviews are initially done independently. The final section asks whether there are direct historical links between Schumpeter and the scholars or ideas of Strategy Development. The major result of this investigation is that Schumpeter’s influence is widespread as are the roots of Strategy Development. The results also show that the writing of Schumpeter is related to Strategy literature because many of Schumpeter’s ideas have become foundational realities for Strategy Development. Meanwhile, this connection is just one of many for each field, and the link between Schumpeter and Strategy Development does not appear to be the most important.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
ESD Working Papers;ESD-WP-2008-22