Using Design to Enhance Organizational Aesthetics

By Steven A. Murphy and Nathalie Courtel.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In management, scholars have turned to design thinking as a way of refreshing the discipline and as a means of stimulating creativity and abductive strategy building. At the core of our theoretical paper is Simon's (1996: 111) notion that, "Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing situations into preferred ones." We believe it may be useful to implement first principles in examining how design might help foster more hospitable workplaces. We focus our attention on aesthetic features like emotions, intuition and sensory perception to help us find meaning in workplaces and routines. We are rightfully cautious in providing ready-made prescriptions, but do advocate for organizational cultural rules around aesthetic safety, which must inevitably be championed by senior leaders. By thinking about work places, spaces, flows and interactions in new ways, opportunities for the experience of organizational aesthetics are explored, along with the role of design in making it happen.

Keywords: Design, Design Thinking, Emotions, Organizational Aesthetics

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.1-9. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 476.338KB).

Dr. Steven A. Murphy

Associate Dean, Sprott School of Business, Ryerson University, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Steven Murphy is Dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, in Toronto, Canada. His research involves applying behavioral and social psychological concepts into other academic realms. In particular, he has applied business concepts to practices in design, the fine arts and theatre. Human emotions form the pillar of his research and he has examined them in relation to corporate boards, computer mediated communication and the leader-follower dyad.

Nathalie Courtel

PhD Candidate, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Canada

Nathalie Courtel is a Ph.D. candidate at the Sprott School of Business in Ottawa, Canada, and is currently living in Paris, France. Her research interests are in aesthetics moments in organisational settings, how they are experienced and can be enhanced, as well as organizational compassion.