Supporting the development of shared understanding in distributed design teams

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Title: Supporting the development of shared understanding in distributed design teams
Authors: Cash, P
Dekoninck, EA
Ahmed-Kristensen, S
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Distributed teams are an increasingly common feature of engineering design work. One key factor in the success of these teams is the development of short- and longer-term shared understanding. A lack of shared understanding has been recognized as a significant challenge, particularly in the context of globally distributed engineering activities. A major antecedent for shared understanding is question asking and feedback. Building on question-asking theory this work uses a quasi-experimental study to test the impact of questioning support on homogeneous and heterogeneous teams. The results show significant improvement in shared understanding for both team types (27% improvement for heterogeneous and 16% for homogeneous), as well as substantial differences in how this improvement is perceived. This extends theoretical insight on the development of shared understanding and contributes one of few empirical studies directly comparing homogeneous and heterogeneous teams in the engineering design context. This has implications for how distributed teams can be more effectively supported in practice, as well as how shared understanding can be facilitated in engineering design.
Issue Date: 4-Jan-2017
Date of Acceptance: 16-Dec-2016
ISSN: 0954-4828
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Start Page: 147
End Page: 170
Journal / Book Title: Journal of Engineering Design
Volume: 28
Issue: 3
Copyright Statement: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Engineering Design on 04 Jan 2017, available online:
Keywords: Design Practice & Management
1203 Design Practice And Management
0801 Artificial Intelligence And Image Processing
0899 Other Information And Computing Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Dyson School of Design Engineering

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