A conceptualisation of design context to explain design trade-offs in the automotive industry

Belecheanu, Roxana; Riedel, Johann and Pawar, Kulwant S. (2006). A conceptualisation of design context to explain design trade-offs in the automotive industry. R & D Management, 36(5) pp. 517–529.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9310.2006.00451.x

Abstract

The paper explores decision-making rationale when making trade-offs in design. A case study of a mass-market car manufacturer was conducted using interviews, qualitative questionnaires and observation. It revealed that decision-making practices in trade-off situations depend on the way that decision makers perceive the relative importance of design targets and trade-off criteria. These practices are unformalised and embedded in the larger processes of car development and often contradict the technical guidelines for making trade-offs that exist in the company. The paper presents a conceptual framework to explain the rationale of trade-offs in different design contexts. How to apply this framework to understand design trade-offs is described with an illustration of its use in two real life examples.

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