Moving Design from Metaphor to Management Practice
Journal of Organization Design, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 51-57 (2012)
7 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2013 Last revised: 14 Jan 2015
Date Written: December 13, 2012
Despite the centrality of “design” to the field of organizational science, we argue that its use has remained at the level of metaphor rather than practice. Donald Schon’s concept of “reflection in action” addresses this gap by describing how managers can practice designing by generating problem frames as hypotheses, and then testing and refining those hypotheses in the situation. Much of management theory has focused on stable and predictable situations where problem framing is less important. As practitioners and scholars alike increasingly embrace the complexity and ambiguity of the global business environment, Schon’s ideas are starting to take hold. In this article, we explore Schon’s concept of the “reflective practitioner” and show how it can move beyond theory to implementation.
Keywords: Design, design process, problem framing, hypothesis generation
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