The T-shape dilemma in the industrial engineering and management

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper concerns the undergraduate “Industrial Engineering and Management” curriculum. The purpose of the research was to examine the extent to which there is in-depth coverage of teaching/learning in the combined field of industrial engineering and management, as opposed to breadth in multidisciplinary teaching/learning in this field (the T-shaped dilemma).

Design/methodology/approach: To examine the T-shaped dilemma, 16 in-depth interviews were conducted with senior-level managers in industry, and with leading academics in the fields of industrial engineering and management. The interviewees were asked questions regarding the planning and design of the curriculum in these fields. The analysis of the interviews was carried out by ascribing categories to the data, and presenting the categories with the highest frequencies in all of the interviews.

Findings and originality/value: One of the most significant results was the considerable variability between the answers of senior-level managers in industry and those of the academics. Whereas individuals in the business field (senior-level managers) place great importance on focusing on the management/business aspect and the acquisition of multidisciplinary knowledge, academics emphasize the importance of understanding the theories and rationale behind the material studied, studying the basic principles and thus acquiring a strong theoretical foundation, the implementation of which is then expressed in diverse applications.

Research limitations/implications: Owing to time constraints, the research only included 16 in-depth interviews. In order to increase the external validity of this research, more interviews should be executed.

Originality/value: The framework of this research is unique in terms of the topic and analytic processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1076-1096
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Industrial Engineering and Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Integrative approach
  • Knowledge management
  • Learning organization
  • T-shape dilemma


Dive into the research topics of 'The T-shape dilemma in the industrial engineering and management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this