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Culture and concept design : a study of international teams

Wodehouse, Andrew and Maclachlan, Ross and Grierson, Hilary and Strong, David (2011) Culture and concept design : a study of international teams. In: 18th International Conference on Engineering Design, 2011-08-01.

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This paper explores the relationship between culture and performance in concept design. Economic globalisation has meant that the management of global teams has become of strategic importance in product development. Cultural diversity is a key factor in such teams, and this work seeks to better understand the effect this can have on two key aspects of the concept design process: concept generation and concept selection. To this end, a group of 32 students from 17 countries all over the world were divided into culturally diverse teams and asked to perform a short design exercise. A version of the Gallery Method allowed two kinds of activity to be monitored – the individual development of concepts and the collective filtering and selection of them. The effect of culture on these processes was the focus of the work. Using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, the output from the sessions were reviewed according to national boundaries. The results indicate that individualism and masculinity had the most discernable effect on concept generation and concept selection respectively.