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International Business

Game Design and Design Studies as a Means for Understanding (Design-related) Organizational Work

A/Prof Ted Tschang, Singapore Management University

25th Nov 2013  12:00 pm - 01:30 pm The Darlington Centre Room 6


This talk will begin with a brief review of some design literature that pertains to a particular framework I propose for analysing design work. I will also draw on my own work on studies of the videogame design process over the last decade in order to flesh out the framework. I parse design work into four aspects and selected instances of those aspects: the domain knowledge, observed practices, cognitive acts involved, and structure of knowledge within the evolving artifact. I illustrate how this pertains to four design traditions in Buchanan (1992) (material objects; communications; complex systems for life, work and play; and services), and describe in more detail the equivalents for game design. Amongst other things, this provides a rational means for understanding how artifacts evolve, and why they evolve in particular, path-dependent yet itinerant ways. Implications for studies of organizations are drawn, including the idea that these seemingly messy systems actually have structure, that routines rather than being the end-all for a description of organizational work, can be seen as guidance systems for these "messy" processes, and that what seem to be some organizations' garbage can processes, are fact, structures for "making meaning" out of early stages of incoherence.


Ted Tschang is an Associate Professor of Strategic Management at Singapore Management University. His research areas are in innovation management and industrial development, in particular, at the industrial and firm level. His recent research interest involves examining how the video game industry has been structured and how creativity enters the product development process (mostly based on qualitative research in the United States, and to a limited extent, in China). From this, he is developing theories of creative organization. He has a Ph.D. in public policy analysis and management from Carnegie Mellon, and earlier degrees in economics and engineering. Prior to SMU, he worked at think tanks for the United Nations University and Asian Development Bank in Tokyo.


Please RSVP to for catering purposes.