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Designers in Organisations

[+] Author Affiliations
P. M. Wognum

University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

Paper No. DETC2002/DTM-34028, pp. 307-314; 8 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 14th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology, Integrated Systems Design, and Engineering Design and Culture
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September 29–October 2, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3624-X
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


Design processes in current industrial contexts require integration between different disciplines and functions, not only within an organisation but also across organisational and even national borders. Many barriers to integration can be observed, however, in multi-disciplinary and multifunctional design projects. One of these barriers is the lack of organisational, management, and social knowledge and skills, on the level of team members as well as on the level of project management. To achieve a sufficient level of integration technical knowledge and skills are necessary but not sufficient. Organisational, management, and social skills are necessary too. In our research on organisation and management of business processes we have found that this last category of knowledge needs improvement for the largest part of design team members and managers. As designers are professionals who have been employed because of their knowledge and skills, gained through prior academic or professional education, the question can be asked to what extent organisational, management, and social knowledge is included in this education. One way to answer this question is by studying the knowledge and skills deemed important for performing design tasks. An important source of this knowledge can be found in journal articles in the area of engineering design. The authors of these articles are in most cases also the ones transferring this knowledge to future designers. In this paper, a study of 94 recently published journals articles is described, which reveals, that organisational, management, and social skills are not yet a major focus of attention. In particular the number of empirical studies on the organisational, social, and managerial behaviour of designers in practical contexts is scarce in the engineering research community. These results will be confronted with results from management and social sciences research. We argue that the gap between these two fields of research needs to be bridged to better prepare designers for their task in current industrial contexts.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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