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The Handbook of Technology and Innovation Management by Scott Shane

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4.4. The Organizational Context of Product Development Problem Solving

Product development is not carried out in a vacuum but is embedded in complex organizational systems. We view the organizational context of problem solving as a set of constraints that is imposed on the 'pure' problem-solving processes described above. Creating a safer vehicle is one problem, but doing so in the context of a large automotive company with thousands of engineers, rigid management control systems, and an ongoing battle between various internal organizations, is an entirely different challenge. We thus have to distinguish between designing an artifact and designing within the context of the organization that designs the artifact[]

[] One might argue that both are design problems and hence should be amenable to the same methods. However, since these problems have been addressed by separate academic communities, we discuss the problem of organizational design in a separate section. The structural similarity between designing a product and designing and organization is discussed by Lovejoy (1994).

Although a headache for the professional designer, the organizational context with its insufficiencies and problems is a blessing for the organizational scholar. As we argue further below, it is our belief that after a century of design research, most of the design problems in their pure form are reasonably well understood. It is their interaction with organizations that continues to pose countless open questions. ...

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