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Article
Publication date: 23 October 2007

Theodore Zamenopoulos and Katerina Alexiou

Even though design as a purposeful activity naturally fits into the realm of cybernetics, the emphasis on control has limited the scope of using cybernetic principles in…

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1031

Abstract

Purpose

Even though design as a purposeful activity naturally fits into the realm of cybernetics, the emphasis on control has limited the scope of using cybernetic principles in design. The idea of organization, another fundamental concept in cybernetics, has received less attention in design research and seems worthy of further exploration. The purpose of the paper is to review the two concepts and clarify their role and meaning in design. Overall, using insights from complex systems science, the paper attempts to recast the relationship between cybernetics and design.

Design/methodology/approach

The treatment uses category theory as a language and methodological approach in order to formally express the concepts of “organization” “control” and “design” and then study the relations between them.

Findings

Organization is defined using the mathematical concept of sketch, i.e. as a characterization of the complementary relation between theories and models. The paper demonstrates that the peculiarity of design rests on the fact that the distinction between theories and models is an anticipated but emergent state. In contrast, control‐based representations assume that the theory‐model distinction is given in advance, as an intrinsic characteristic. The paper demonstrates that design is a distinct paradigm in relation to control, yet it falls within the domain of cybernetic and complex systems enquiry.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the understanding of design as a distinct type of problem in cybernetics by exposing differences between control and design problems. The paper also further lays the foundations for developing a cybernetic theory of design based on the concept of organization.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 36 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 12 July 2019

Michael Sony and Subhash Naik

Six Sigma is a well-established powerful business strategy for achieving operational excellence (OPEX). However, previous studies have suggested that the Six Sigma may…

Abstract

Purpose

Six Sigma is a well-established powerful business strategy for achieving operational excellence (OPEX). However, previous studies have suggested that the Six Sigma may negatively impact organizational creativity and innovation. The C-K theory is one of the most widely used technique for design reasoning which promotes the creativity and innovation. The purpose of this paper is to integrate the Six Sigma methodology and C-K theory for enhancing innovative capacity of Six Sigma for achieving OPEX.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper proposes an integration methodology of C-K theory and Six Sigma using the extant literature. Also, a case study is conducted based on the proposed integration model.

Findings

The paper suggests a step-by-step integration methodology for integrating Six Sigma with C-K theory for both (DMAIC and DMADV). The methodology when applied to a live case in mining logistics the results are very encouraging. The solution was cost effective and also technically superior compared to previous solutions.

Practical implications

The paper proposes a step-by-step methodology for the integration of Six Sigma with C-K tools. The methodology is practically applied in a live case. Organizations can use findings from this paper to implement an integration model of Six Sigma with C-K theory.

Originality/value

This is the first paper that proposes an integration methodology of Six Sigma with C-K theory to enhance the innovation capability to achieve the OPEX.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2008

Fons Wijnhoven and Jeroen Kraaijenbrink

The purpose of this paper is to give a structured literature review, design concepts, and research propositions related to a product‐oriented design theory for information…

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2144

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to give a structured literature review, design concepts, and research propositions related to a product‐oriented design theory for information services. Information services facilitate the exchange of information goods with or without transforming these goods. Exemplar information services are e‐publishing, electronic communities‐of‐practice, and management reporting. The importance of information services in the current economy merits the development of an explicit product‐ and process‐oriented design theory.

Design/methodology/approach

This article focuses on the product‐oriented design theory by applying Walls et al.'s framework. A product‐oriented design theory of information services identifies relevant descriptive and explanatory insights (i.e. content, use, value, and revenue), meta‐requirements, and meta‐designs. The paper describes design problems for information services, and gives key requirements for information services. Next, it describes the information, organizational and information technological components of an information service, and identifies at least four information service architectures. Finally, it gives research hypotheses, research ideas, and discusses practical implications.

Findings

The results form a product‐oriented design theory for information services. The paper gives a structured way for practitioners to analyze information service design challenges, and suggestions are given for requirements and design decisions on three aspects (content, use feature, and revenue).

Originality/value

Given the previously fragmented nature of the literature, this paper gives new opportunities for research and practice.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2013

Patrick Corsi

Despite an increasingly explicit professional nature, the futures studies field has suffered an increasing constraining to a collection of specific techniques. The purpose

Abstract

Purpose

Despite an increasingly explicit professional nature, the futures studies field has suffered an increasing constraining to a collection of specific techniques. The purpose of this paper is to harness the foundational shortcomings of current futures studies methods, namely the lack of a well‐defined underpinning theory and of rigorous, rational, systematic, repeatable, traceable, documentable, and transferable method. It proposes a rigorous theory for futures studies whereby futures can be logically designed.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper envisages the futures design activity as an extension and a generalization of decision theories and problem solving. The process is made comprehensible and interpretable thanks to a co‐generation referencing between two spaces named Concepts and Knowledge. It works by undertaking a formal mathematical approach on undecidable root concepts, bearing no logical status, by logically expanding them until a validable proposition in the knowledge space is reached. The paper is based on the concept‐knowledge theory (C‐K theory) from Ecole des Mines ParisTech, explains why it is needed, illustrates it and uses it on two illustrative futures studies examples.

Findings

The proposed research opens a new method for designing futures based on the C‐K theory that has the intrinsic capacity of constructing radical innovations for futures scenarios. While setting clear departure from, for example, brainstorming techniques or Delphi‐based methods, it offers a systematic method for designing futures that rests upon solid theoretical foundation that explains the nonsense or contradictions in producing futures.

Research limitations/implications

While the C‐K theory is fully supported by a scientific basis founded on mathematics and is in widening use in domain‐specific industrial sectors at large, it is still being expanded both theoretically and epistemologically. The theory is not aimed at choosing or formulating suitable or appropriate root concepts, this being the role of domain professionals. Its implementation, however coherent, is only as extensive and covering the problematic at hand as the implementers are congruous to the application domain.

Practical implications

The proposed research can help futurists to develop new breakthrough plans, solutions and alternatives with essential and novel benefits: to help control the rationale of a futures scenario development, to control the degree of innovation (e.g. change, reform, progress, create …) to reach, and to bring to decision makers and policy‐makers the traced explanation of different design paths.

Social implications

The benefits of the C‐K approach are detailed and elements founding further theoretical research are provided, including possible developments of C‐K theory specifically helpful for futurists. The research offers a collective design method for revisiting futures sciences by defining, understanding and developing creative futures alternatives that can collectively mobilize stakeholders. Workshops with stakeholders remain necessary, with experienced coaches catalyzing its field implementation.

Originality/value

The paper pushes the edge of the discussion on philosophical, ontological and epistemological grounds and supplies a theoretical underpinning for futures studies at large. The research is inherited from the creative power of modern mathematics as developed and proven by the C‐K theory, a powerful approach for discussing design phenomena. The author argues that it constitutes a suitable and useful asset for futures scientists insofar as to imagine, understand, develop, manipulate, and assess creative futures alternatives. The paper introduces and discusses the notion of futuron, which can be seen as a “logical quantum particle of future”.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article
Publication date: 27 July 2010

Nandish V. Patel, Tillal Eldabi and Tariq M. Khan

The purpose of this paper is to address the problem of designing artificial complex adaptive systems, like information systems and organisations, by developing a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the problem of designing artificial complex adaptive systems, like information systems and organisations, by developing a proof‐of‐concept conceptual proto‐agent model.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper develops an exploratory proto‐agent model and evaluates its suitability for implementation as agent‐based simulation.

Findings

The paper focuses on understanding the effect of emergence when designing artificial complex adaptive systems and produces a proto‐agent model that identified agents and their behavioural rules for modelling.

Practical implications

In deferred action, agents act in emergent organisation to achieve predetermined goals. Since emergence cannot be predicted, information systems and organisation design approaches that cater for emergent organisation are required.

Originality/value

The deferred action construct is a synthesis of planned approaches and contingency approaches to design information systems. It recognises the effect of emergence on information systems.

Details

Journal of Enterprise Information Management, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0398

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 25 April 2020

Sebastian Maximilian Dennerlein, Vladimir Tomberg, Tamsin Treasure-Jones, Dieter Theiler, Stefanie Lindstaedt and Tobias Ley

Introducing technology at work presents a special challenge as learning is tightly integrated with workplace practices. Current design-based research (DBR) methods are…

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1038

Abstract

Purpose

Introducing technology at work presents a special challenge as learning is tightly integrated with workplace practices. Current design-based research (DBR) methods are focused on formal learning context and often questioned for a lack of yielding traceable research insights. This paper aims to propose a method that extends DBR by understanding tools as sociocultural artefacts, co-designing affordances and systematically studying their adoption in practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The iterative practice-centred method allows the co-design of cognitive tools in DBR, makes assumptions and design decisions traceable and builds convergent evidence by consistently analysing how affordances are appropriated. This is demonstrated in the context of health-care professionals’ informal learning, and how they make sense of their experiences. The authors report an 18-month DBR case study of using various prototypes and testing the designs with practitioners through various data collection means.

Findings

By considering the cognitive level in the analysis of appropriation, the authors came to an understanding of how professionals cope with pressure in the health-care domain (domain insight); a prototype with concrete design decisions (design insight); and an understanding of how memory and sensemaking processes interact when cognitive tools are used to elaborate representations of informal learning needs (theory insight).

Research limitations/implications

The method is validated in one long-term and in-depth case study. While this was necessary to gain an understanding of stakeholder concerns, build trust and apply methods over several iterations, it also potentially limits this.

Originality/value

Besides generating traceable research insights, the proposed DBR method allows to design technology-enhanced learning support for working domains and practices. The method is applicable in other domains and in formal learning.

Details

Information and Learning Sciences, vol. 121 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5348

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2000

Frans A.J. Ruffini, Harry Boer and Maarten J. van Riemsdijk

The organisational design of production systems is thought to be one of the key determinants of their performance. Therefore, in order to enable them to contribute…

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8028

Abstract

The organisational design of production systems is thought to be one of the key determinants of their performance. Therefore, in order to enable them to contribute effectively to the successful creation of products and services, OM practitioners need up‐to‐date, comprehensive and sufficiently detailed organisation design theory. However, 27 case studies aimed at identifying and explaining design performance relationships produced results that could not be explained using organisation theory (OT), while operations management (OM) theory did not provide much help either. OM, because the discipline lacks good organisation design theory. OT, because of some severe limitations, which are mostly due to the paradigmatic directions this discipline has taken. Consequently, OM has to take up the gauntlet itself. An agenda for OM‐driven organisation research is proposed, which builds on the strengths of OT, takes away its major weaknesses, and is believed to contribute to the development of actionable organisation design theory.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 20 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2011

Jan Achterbergh and Dirk Vriens

The purpose of this paper is to show how the viable system model (VSM) and de Sitter's design theory can complement each other in the context of the diagnosis and design

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866

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how the viable system model (VSM) and de Sitter's design theory can complement each other in the context of the diagnosis and design of viable organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Key concepts from Beer's model and de Sitter's design theory are introduced and analyzed in order to show how they relate.

Findings

The VSM provides insight into the related systems necessary and sufficient for viability. As such, it specifies criteria supporting the diagnosis and design of organizational infrastructures, i.e. of organizational structures, HR systems, and technology. However, it does not explicitly conceptualize and provide a detailed heuristic for the design of organizational structures. De Sitter's theory fills in this gap.

Originality/value

The paper illustrates how, based on a rudimentary model of organizational viability, de Sitter's design theory positively addresses the question of how to diagnose and design organizational structures that add to the viability of organizations.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 40 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Nandish V. Patel and Ahmad Ghoneim

The aim of this paper is to examine empirically the relevance of the theory of deferred action for knowledge management systems (KMS) design in practice.

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1510

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to examine empirically the relevance of the theory of deferred action for knowledge management systems (KMS) design in practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopts a case study approach to examine knowledge work and knowledge management in virtual teamwork in a large UK telecommunications company to understand the occurrence of emergent knowledge and how it is managed by virtual team leaders. The section in the company studied is described as a “knowledge intensive organization” dealing with the company's e‐commerce activities.

Findings

The analysis confirms the complex adaptive system hypothesis – a complex system adapts to its environment through self‐organization. The data reveal the behaviour of the virtual team to be self‐organizing and adaptive to its environment. It confirms the knowledge tacitness hypothesis and social embeddedness of knowledge hypothesis as important determinants of knowledge sharing. Specifically, the data reveal the main issues concerning knowledge sharing practices of virtual team workers and the crucial team leader's role in the effectiveness of the teams' capability to develop social links to externalise and share tacit knowledge to accomplish tasks.

Research limitations/implications

In this paper, the authors contribute “emergent knowledge” as a third category of organizational knowledge in addition to the existing tacit and explicit knowledge that needs to be considered when designing KMS. It also derives socio‐technical systems design principles based on the theory of deferred action, and a tentative development process with metrics is then proposed for KMS design that caters for emergent, tacit, and explicit knowledge.

Practical implications

Existing models such as the SECI model do not acknowledge emergent knowledge or its conversion into explicit knowledge. The theory of deferred action is invoked to derive design principles, termed deferred systems design principles, to depict how explicit knowledge, tacit knowledge, and emergent knowledge can be represented to design knowledge management systems for “emergent organizations”.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the limited research and lack of consideration of emergent knowledge as an integral part of organizational knowledge, especially in an era of emergent organizations.

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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2017

Joseph Roh, Virpi Turkulainen, Judith M. Whipple and Morgan Swink

Managing internal supply chains is becoming increasingly complex, requiring managers to balance diverse needs. As a result, managers continuously face the need to change…

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1952

Abstract

Purpose

Managing internal supply chains is becoming increasingly complex, requiring managers to balance diverse needs. As a result, managers continuously face the need to change how they organize their internal supply chains. The purpose of this paper is to examine this phenomenon by addressing why multinational supply chain management organizations (SCMOs) change their designs, as well as how managers respond to pertinent change phenomena using complementary theoretical perspectives.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative data, collected from 50 executives within 24 multinational manufacturers, is used to develop an understanding of the organizational design change phenomena. A theory elaboration approach is taken to illustrate how various theoretical perspectives explain organizational design change.

Findings

This study identifies and elaborates organizational design change phenomena in the context of multinational SCMOs, including internal and external drivers of design change. Managers also discussed key supply chain management capabilities that were developed in order to meet perceived changes in business needs.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to academic understanding of organizational design issues affecting SCMOs. Four theoretical perspectives are elaborated upon to illustrate their applicability for examining SCMO organizational design issues.

Practical implications

This study provides managerial application of several organizational design change theories by elaborating principles for framing, interpreting, and implementing design change initiatives in internal SCMOs.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies to investigate organizational design change in multinational SCMOs. This research highlights the complexity and evolving nature of SCMO organizational design decisions by describing the adaption, integration, and reconfiguration of firm resources and competencies in changing environments.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

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