Solutions for Future Organisational Needs of Rolls-Royce

A close up of a jet engine


As with many companies, the structure of the Rolls-Royce organisation and the associated roles and responsibilities need to evolve in line with the radical changes in business context and customer demands. The goal of this research is to analyse and develop solutions for the future organisational needs of the Rolls-Royce design process in order to ensure unit cost risks are minimised. This task will result in future recommendations for organisation and role changes and a proposed change programme plan to deliver these. This will be supported by an analytical rationale for the proposed changes, and where possible solutions and interventions.


  • Develop and trial Capability Maturity Index (CMI) methodology with selected stakeholders/customer areas
  • Complete development of people skills and competencies framework for adoption by the central product cost engineering team
  • Develop and trial a Capability Maturity Index prototype tool with selected stakeholders/customer areas
  • Conduct ‘best practice’ organisational literature review to support development of a central service model for PCE
  • Complete and report on benchmarking programme centred on cost engineering people skills, training, role definition and organisation

Methods employed

This work package has employed various data collection techniques including observation, interviews, questionnaires and interactive workshops. Researchers have been working very closely with key stakeholders and end-users within the cost system throughout the project to create a “pull not push” mechanism for the change initiative being developed.

Research team

Lucy Bolton
Professor Chris Clegg


Benefits of the socio-technical approach adopted include the enhancement of the integration of cost processes and roles into the design process to support and maintain cost model development and use during the early design stages, specifically during the unit cost bidding process. This research has helped areas of the organisation understand the nature of their unit cost bidding capability from a people and information flow perspective. Through the use of process mapping techniques, new network connections and roles can be visualised to view the impact and any subsequent benefits or improvements without the risks associated with actual changes. This stage of the work resulted in future recommendations for organisational and role changes with a change programme to deliver these.

This research has helped the product cost engineering team establish its own skill set within engineering with the introduction of an accompanying skill set owner. In addition, this led to the formation of a competency framework for cost engineers and a clear career structure. As a result, product cost engineering as a function has also become more established and visible. Other companies that have benefited from this work through the sharing of good practice are BAE Systems, Airbus, Aston Martin, Bentley Motors and the UK Association of Cost Engineers (ACostE).

Through the involvement of key stakeholders and end-users, changes implemented are based on genuine business needs, creating practical rather than faddish solutions. Such changes are more likely to be sustained due to such involvement of the participants of change, helping to create a learning organisation that can be more globally competitive.

Publications and outputs

Findings from the early stages of this research suggest that there are clear problems with integration, engagement, standardisation and communication throughout the process due to sub-cultures within the organisation. However, employees are starting to think in a more systemic way and cost appears to be becoming more of a priority. One identified requirement within the organisation was the need to develop and establish a clear skill set for Cost Engineers. This has been a key area of focus for the remainder of this project and as part of this a Capability Maturity Index (CMI) is being created for Product Cost Engineering. An associated competency framework and career structure have been developed.

Findings from this research project have been presented at the British Psychological Society Division of Occupational Psychology Annual Conference (January 2010, Stratford-upon-Avon; January 2011, Chester) and the European Association of Work and Organisational Psychologists Bi-Annual Conference (May 2011, The Netherlands; May 2013, Germany). From the perspective of applying socio-technical principles in an engineering environment, some ideas from this work were included in a symposium organised by members of STC at the Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics Conference in San Francisco in July 2012.

This work is nearly completed, so please watch this space for more information in the near future. If you are interested in our work, please read:

Clegg, C. & Walsh, S. (2004) 'Change management: Time for a change!', European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 13 (2), 217-239
Clegg, C. & Spencer, C. (2007) 'A circular and dynamic model of the process of job design', Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 80: 321-339