مطالعه موردی در جامع در رابطه با نقش طراحی صنعتی در یک شرکت تجاری بنگاه به بنگاه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23898||2013||21 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11976 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Volume 30, Issue 4, October–December 2013, Pages 363–383
In this paper, we investigate how managers perceive the roles of industrial design, based on their experiences with designers in two product development projects in a business-to-business environment. The study demonstrates that designers can make contributions that surpass the design of physical products, and that influence the effective implementation of product development processes. Our findings extend the limited literature on the role of industrial design in industrial markets, and are of value for managers looking to strengthen their product development processes.
A number of studies indicate that industrial design performs a variety of roles in companies, and that these roles are relevant to other functional areas such as marketing (Kotler and Rath, 1984), engineering (Persson, 2005), sales (Roy, 1990) and production (Trueman and Jobber, 1998). However, while companies benefit from industrial design in several ways, the roles that industrial designers play are not fixed (Dumas and Whitfield, 1989, Walsh, 1996 and Topalian, 1986). In fact, company surveys indicate that industrial designers are contracted for a variety of reasons (e.g., Nielsén, 2008). For example, while a marketing manager may be concerned with product differentiation and may hire designers to support his/her department in these areas, an R&D manager may be more concerned with aspects such as technical feasibility. Thus, managers can have different views on what industrial design brings to a company. Yet, to our knowledge, no study has explored what roles different managers recognize for industrial design within business-to-business companies. Identifying the variety of roles that industrial design can fulfill in companies is pivotal in supporting the strategic utilization of design in companies. The management literature on design points to several problem areas in the relationship between managers and designers. As found for new product development in general (e.g., Kleinsmann et al., 2010), the communication between industrial designers and managers has long been reported as problematic (Gorb, 1986). Managers reportedly find the language and ideas used by designers unrealistic (Dumas and Whitfield, 1989). Similar problems have also been found for other professionals. Persson (2005) for instance found that although engineering design and industrial design are highly interrelated (e.g., both disciplines influence the outputs of the other), professionals from both fields usually work in separate settings and often fail to have rich communication with one and another. Effective cooperation is therefore often hindered, and companies sometimes miss out on important contributions of industrial design (e.g., Svengren, 1995). Consequently, understanding what industrial designers do and, perhaps more importantly, how different professionals perceive the contribution of industrial design should help managers to more effectively integrate industrial design with other disciplines. This should also help to create new opportunities for business-to-business companies who want to profit from industrial design more strategically. In this paper, we report on an exploratory study on how managers of different functional areas perceive the role that industrial design fulfills in their company. While the varied roles of industrial design for business-to-consumer companies have been studied in detail, the roles of design in business-to-business companies are less well understood (for exceptions see Cooper and Kleinschmidt, 1987, Yamamoto and Lambert, 1994 and Moody, 1980). Based on an in-depth case study of a multinational, high-tech, business-to-business company, we describe how managers perceive the role of the company's industrial design department, based on their experiences with design in two new product development projects. The study shows that the perceived role of industrial design varies significantly for different managers within the company. The perceived roles concern both the shaping of the characteristics of new products and the support industrial designers can provide to other professionals in new product development projects. Moreover, we find distinct differences between managers of different functional backgrounds who recognize different roles for industrial design. We thus contribute to the emerging management literature on the strategic management of design by listing a number of different roles for industrial design of relevance for companies in industrial markets. In particular, by investigating a company with a leading track record in design in its industry, we have been able to list those human capacities and contributions that investments in industrial design can create. We thus support managers in business-to-business companies in understanding the varied viewpoints that can exist within a company about what industrial design can do and deliver. Through these contributions, we answer to calls for a more systematic analysis on the strategic utilization of industrial design in industry (Swan and Luchs, 2011).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
As a profession in constant development, the roles that industrial designers fulfill are not static. Managers may recognize different capacities and contributions of design depending on their goals within a company and interests for design. Nowadays, it is a well-known fact that companies investing in industrial design typically achieve greater profits than their competitors. This is particularly true of companies that are early users of industrial design in their industry, because their investments in design give them an edge on the competition (Gemser and Leenders, 2001). However, as more and more companies turn to design to gain an edge on the competition, it becomes increasingly urgent for managers to understand what design can deliver. The broad scope of design implies that designers can provide a variety of benefits for companies. The strategic challenge facing managers is to carefully consider their particular interest in design, in order to profit from it most effectively. In this paper, we explored the different roles industrial designers played in a business-to-business company, and how the perceived capacities and contributions associated with these roles differed among its managers. We addressed these topics since there is limited information to support managers operating in industrial markets about how to effectively engage industrial designers in their organizations. To this end, our study set out to provide an in-depth analysis of industrial design in a business-to-business company to extend current understanding of design in both theory and practice. We found several areas where industrial design held an important role for the company, and where the company made strategic use of industrial design in new product development. Our findings support the idea that industrial designers not only contribute to shaping the physical characteristics of products – they also contribute to a number of process-related activities in the creation of products. Our findings are valuable for other business-to-business companies that want to turn to design for attaining competitive advantage. Specifically, in response to the challenge outlined above, by taking a broader perspective on design, managers can take more informed decisions on design in new product development by recognizing the value of design in areas perhaps not previously recognized (Topalian, 1986). In doing so, the secondary roles located in our study may provide managers of different functional areas a new starting point for reconsidering their current usage of design. For example, Bohemia (2002), found that the role industrial design plays in integrating different functions to be the least important reason why Australian manufacturing companies employ designers. He also found that companies that outsource design services regarded the integrative role of design as less important compared to those having in-house designers. In contrast, our results point to many process-related roles that were integrative by nature. We cannot establish the relative importance of these roles, but the interviews with managers revealed that the contribution of design to development processes is well acknowledged and valued within the different functional areas of the organization. The long experience of the studied company with industrial design may indicate that a ‘design culture’ has become an integral part of ‘corporate culture.’ That said, whether this connection between design and company values comes from an appreciation for the full potential of design is debatable. Does design, as an institutionalized practice, consist of a stable set of activities that companies can appreciate once they have worked with designers for long enough? Or should design be seen as a more malleable practice, perhaps a dynamic capability that responds adaptively to the demands set by the environment in which it operates (Helfat et al., 2007 and Teece, 2009)? In the latter case, design becomes a valuable activity for the company, but only after designers have had sufficient opportunity to learn and adapt. Future studies could explore this possibility. While many business-to-business companies utilize industrial design, the management literature has been rather silent on the complexity involved in managing the various roles of industrial design in industrial settings. We therefore opted for a single case study to acquire a rich and detailed description of the various interests in design that companies might have, and the varied interests managers may have in engaging industrial design. Operating as a company intern/co-worker/researcher, our approach to data-collection granted us uncensored interaction with colleagues, and provided us access to information normally not obtainable for researchers. It also provides us a first-hand experience with the organizational culture in which designers operate. This said, in analyzing the different roles fulfilled by designers in the two projects, we often needed to rely on the openness and willingness of professionals to discuss sometimes personal and classified information. Furthermore, we depended on their ability to discuss many activities and events in retrospect. We chose for this approach because we wanted to understand how managers perceived the role of design in both a successful and an unsuccessful case. However, future case studies could set out to corroborate our findings in less reflective, real-time settings. A real-time setting might provide a less “aligned” perspective on how higher and lower management use the services of industrial designers. It may also provide better opportunities to locate and understand situations in which industrial design has a negative contribution to the process or on the end result, or when the promise of industrial design becomes unfulfilled. Finally, we cannot say that our findings are representative for all business-to-business organizations or for all managers. As noted earlier, the impact of design is industry dependent. In aiming to capture a varied and mature use of industrial design, we studied a leading user of industrial design within its industry with many years of experience in benefiting from design. In many ways, the company has been an early adopter of design. For this company, we found that managers need to make cautious decisions on how to make use of the capacities of designers when they want to profit from design. Other companies, however, may have specific corporate goals and approaches to their markets, and the role that industrial designers can fulfill may differ. In this sense the varied conceptions of industrial design in the study serves as a first guideline for effectively integrating design in business-to-business companies. Managers from other companies should thus conduct a thorough assessment of their business, looking at the processes followed during the development process, and at stakeholders and bottlenecks. Based on such assessments, managers can then find a general description of the potential creative uses of industrial designers for their firm. What we highlight here is the diversity in the value that design can have for business-to-business organizations and the diversity in the perceptions of this value by managers from different functional areas. For designers (including those working as external consultants), these findings may represent new ways to promote their capacities toward business-to-business companies and toward different functional areas within such companies. For industrial companies with an established design department, the design manager can make use of this list to promote the design group in new ways, both within the design department and to other functional areas of the company. Other managers can also look to our list to seek new ways to profit from design within their functional domain as well as better understand the interests of other managers. In doing so, they can better integrate the diverse set of roles that design can fulfill and acknowledge the strategic contribution of design to their company.