Abstract

This interdisciplinary article explores the nature of language in design managers´ strategic contexts. Taken-for-granted assumptions behind language influence the way cues are selected and elaborated on through actors´ frames to ultimately become meanings. Language suggests and passes on cues and frames through which strategizing evolves. The design space is depicted as an entanglement of in-betweens where actors are immersed in language and materiality in their ongoing sensemaking. The hermeneutic analysis revealed that design languages partly extend managerial concepts, thus broadening horizons. Designers´ sensemaking in this longitudinal research showed traits of normalising and denormalising language use balancing between frame adoption and frame extension. Normalising language risks reproducing historical assumptions easily omitting ethics or harmful consequences. Designers´ denormalising language with material–linguistic strengths could trigger critical reflection on strategic assumptions. In addition, a design contribution is made to strategy and sensemaking studies.

Keywords:

design space, critical theory, strategy, sensemaking language

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Aug 11th, 12:00 AM

Design Languages in the Design Space: Silicon Valley

This interdisciplinary article explores the nature of language in design managers´ strategic contexts. Taken-for-granted assumptions behind language influence the way cues are selected and elaborated on through actors´ frames to ultimately become meanings. Language suggests and passes on cues and frames through which strategizing evolves. The design space is depicted as an entanglement of in-betweens where actors are immersed in language and materiality in their ongoing sensemaking. The hermeneutic analysis revealed that design languages partly extend managerial concepts, thus broadening horizons. Designers´ sensemaking in this longitudinal research showed traits of normalising and denormalising language use balancing between frame adoption and frame extension. Normalising language risks reproducing historical assumptions easily omitting ethics or harmful consequences. Designers´ denormalising language with material–linguistic strengths could trigger critical reflection on strategic assumptions. In addition, a design contribution is made to strategy and sensemaking studies.

 

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