CUED Publications database

The importance of leadership in design team problem-solving

Chen, CC and Neroni, MA and Vasconcelos, LA and Crilly, N (2017) The importance of leadership in design team problem-solving. In: Analysing Design Thinking: Studies of Cross-Cultural Co-Creation. UNSPECIFIED, pp. 77-96.

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Design team problem-solving is challenging to study because the strategies and behaviours exhibited by teams can vary considerably with team composition, design environment and task demands. As a consequence, the tools and methods developed to improve team strategies and behaviours are not always empirically informed. Existing work on team problem-solving tends to adopt one of two perspectives. The first relates to design cognition and focuses on how the team represents and tackles the problem. The second relates to teamwork and focuses on how the composition, structure and dynamics of the team affect the way it works together. In this study, we adopt both these perspectives when analysing the dialogue and behaviours of a professional design team in meetings over the course of a project. Content analysis of team members’ verbal communications (with pre-defined codes) is used to characterise the team’s problemsolving strategy while qualitative observations (without pre-defined codes) are used to characterise team dynamics, integration and effectiveness during different problemsolving episodes. Our findings suggest that leadership can play an important role in design problem-solving. The team leader shapes the team’s problem-solving strategy by coordinating team discussions and helps the team to build up shared representations by facilitating closed-loop communication. These findings suggest that good leadership practices – and the team processes that they facilitate – are important in small task-driven teams and not only in larger team units such as organisations.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions: Div C > Engineering Design
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2018 01:37
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2021 22:30
DOI: 10.1201/9781315208169