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My Idea Is Best! Ownership Bias and its Influence on Engineering Concept Selection

[+] Author Affiliations
Christine A. Toh, Arti H. Patel, Andrew A. Strohmetz, Scarlett R. Miller

The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA

Paper No. DETC2015-46478, pp. V007T06A005; 10 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 27th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, August 2–5, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5717-5
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Concept selection is considered one of the most crucial components of the engineering design process because the direction of the final design is largely determined at this stage. One of the most widely utilized techniques for filtering designs during this process involves informal review meetings where team members identify the designs that most closely satisfy the design goals. While this is often seen as an efficient process, factors such as ownership bias, or an unintentional preference for an individuals’ own ideas, and team member personality attributes may impact an individual’s decision-making process. However, few studies have explored the impact of these factors on concept selection. Therefore, an empirical study was conducted with 37 engineering students in order to investigate the effect of these attributes on the selection or filtering of design concepts in engineering education. The results from this study show that personality impacts the proportion of ideas selected, and that male students tend to select more of their own ideas (ownership bias) than their female counterparts who more often select their team member’s concepts. These results add to our understanding of the factors that impact the team concept selection process and provide empirical evidence of the occurrence of ownership bias in engineering design education.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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