The Role of Designers in Integrating Societal Value in the Product and Service Development Processes
Yoori Koo


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly regarded as a compelling strategic opportunity for dealing with sustainability challenges faced by organisations. Design has the potential to translate CSR strategies and tactics into manufactured goods, as well as potential services. This article focuses on (i) investigating design activities that enable the application of CSR principles, during new product and service development, (ii) identifying the designers’ underlying motivation for socially responsible design (SRD) decision-making in organisations. To investigate CSR and SRD we interviewed 42 designers in two South Korean multinational electronics company. Grounded theory was used to explain the reasoning behind the SRD decisions and their possible implications. This article presents a two-dimensional model comprising of two continua, one which is the degree to which SRD decision is motivated by a designer’s personal ethical value system, and the other of which is the degree to which it is motivated by a company CSR regulation. The empirical study illustrates how the theoretical model can capture the complexity of SRD decision-making within organisations and how the underlying motivations serve as impetus for the CSR-expressed design decision-making and operate as the initial stages of transition SRD practices into the mainstream CSR discussion and policy.

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