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Management of Engineering Organizations and Legal Issues

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Laws of a nation (Civil Laws) are formulated by the respective national legislative bodies, the parliaments of a group of countries onthe basis of conventions like the English Common Law, and on the theocratic basis (as in the case of Islamic nations). This essay examines the legal issues vis-à-vis the management of engineering organizations in an advanced democratic country like the UK. It is appropriate, at this stage, to put forth the argument concerning the topic. Legal issues may be irksome for effective management of engineering organizations but there is no gainsaying the fact that the legal rules provide a definitive and helpful background for professional management. The existence of a body of established law helps in the smooth running of an organization and conducting of its business in a predictable manner. Irksome laws and legal rules are certainly there if viewed from the narrow perspective of a few organizations or a few managers but in the final analysis, one realizes that laws evolve with the collective wisdom of the society and hence are to be accepted in the larger context. For example, the safety, health and environmental laws or corporate governance laws may appear to be intrusive, irksome and expensiveto implement. But it is proved time and again that in the ultimate analysis, compliance is more economical than paying the price of damages or clean up costs. The prime examples of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy (Pratima, 1998) of the Union Carbide or the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Bligh Reef near Alaska (Thinkquest) testify to this harsh reality. Engineering organizations are formed to provide goods and services in exchange for a consideration, the usual payment of money. This simple definition points out the stakeholders involved in the process of setting up and running of engineering organizations. They can be identified at the broad level as the employees, customers, vendors, investors / financial institutions, and the statutory authorities. All engineering organizations are legal entities, separate from the promoters or owners.