Training for reflective competency in design teams: An empirical study

DS 75-7: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED13), Design for Harmonies, Vol.7: Human Behaviour in Design, Seoul, Korea, 19-22.08.2013

Year: 2013
Editor: Udo Lindemann, Srinivasan V, Yong Se Kim, Sang Won Lee, John Clarkson, Gaetano Cascini
Author: Weixelbaum, Ilona; Badke-Schaub, Petra; Dörner, Dietrich
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Otto-Friedrich-University, Bamberg, Germany; 2: University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
Page(s): 049-058
ISBN: 978-1-904670-50-6
ISSN:  2220-4334


The need for flexibility in designers’ acting and thinking processes can be seen as a core requirement for successful design practice. For designers collaborating in a team gaining cognitive flexibility is quite challenging, as cognitive processes are not directly observable for other team members and therefore hard to assess and change. The aim of this paper is to clarify how team reflection as the critical analysis and adaption of the team's acting and thinking processes can serve as an instrument to facilitate cognitive flexibility and thereby improve team performance. Based on an empirical requirements analysis a training program for reflective competency in teams has been developed. The training has been evaluated on design teams in industry. Results of the qualitative analysis of four case studies suggest that the training serves as a suitable instrument to teach effective team reflection which leads to more cognitive flexibility. Within this paper, the results of two case studies with quite different training courses are illustrated and discussed in detail. Finally, conclusions both for future research and about the practical relevance of the results are drawn.

Keywords: Complexity, teamwork, knowledge management, team reflection, training


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