Skip to content ↓

Reengineering Q&A

People have many questions about what they can expect from reeengineering at MIT. The Community Involvement Team will offer answers in this space from time to time.

Q: How will jobs be affected by reengineering at MIT?

A: It is important for everyone to understand that the aim of reengineering is the redesign of work and how it gets done. Elimination of jobs is not a specific goal but may follow as processes are streamlined and workers become more effective.

The main objective is to make nonacademic work more appealing, and productive while contributing to MIT's excellence. Among criteria for successful employment in the redesigned environment are:

  • Self-direction and self-motivation.
  • Ability to work successfully in teams to solve problems and produce results together.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and to resolve conflict constructively.
  • Willingness to learn on your own, although MIT will continue to offer courses for skills advancement.
  • A high capacity for change will be necessary. Anticipating the need for it, initiating it and absorbing it will supercede even high levels of expertise and long experience.
  • The ability to deal with technology, which will become even more critical than it is now. Everyone will have to be able to use a desktop computer at advanced levels. The need to identify, become proficient in and apply new technologies will be essential.
  • Management skills, which will change. Managers will become coaches of individuals and teams instead of commanders, emphasizing the process orientation of work and the need for improvement on a continuing basis.

Meanwhile, the Reengineering Steering Committee (the vice presidents plus the dean of engineering and the executive vice president of the alumni association) is committed to the humane and fair treatment of MIT people. They are working to produce principles for how human resources issues will be handled as the Institute implements the upcoming changes. The redesign teams' final recommendations will include new position descriptions, organization structures and management policies, definitions of required skills and transition suggestions. Each team includes members from human resources to assure that "people issues" are part of ongoing considerations. No recommendations will be made about specific individuals or jobs; local managers will make those decisions in the context of the Institute's principles.

Readers who want to submit questions or voice concerns should send them to "" if they wish to remain anonymous. Otherwise, they can direct a question to Dr. Isaac M. Colbert, captain, of the Community Involvement Team, .

A version of this article appeared in the October 26, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 39, Number 9).

Related Topics

More MIT News