Enabling objects for participatory design of socio-technical systems

Publication: Research - peer-reviewArticle in proceedings – Annual report year: 2011

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The aim of this paper is to identify and explore the role of objects in participatory ergonomics design processes. The question in focus is: What characterizes objects in PE processes? First the concept of boundary objects is introduced as a starting point for investigating the role of objects. Second, findings of a search to identify objects in PE processes are reported. Third, objects fulfilling the requirements for boundary objects are placed in one of five categories. Fourth, empirical findings from two PE case studies in which objects played an important role are presented. Finally, based on a grounded theory approach, a characterization of objects in PE design processes is developed and a framework for how the use of objects in PE processes could be conceptualized is proposed. In conclusion, the concept of objects in PE processes is contextual, and the ergonomist or other design actor needs to actively consider their selection and the stage at which they are to be used.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design : Impacting Society through Engineering Design
Number of pages560
VolumeVol.7 Human Behaviour in Design
PublisherDesign Society
Publication date2011
ISBN (print)978-1-904670-27-8
StatePublished - 2011
Event18th International Conference on Engineering Design : Impacting Society Through Engineering Design - Copenhagen, Denmark


Conference18th International Conference on Engineering Design : Impacting Society Through Engineering Design
Internet address


  • Objects, Socio-technical systems, Participatory design
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