An exploratory study into everyday problem solving in the design process of medical devices

Jane Glover, Kevin Daniels

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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We investigated accounts of how individuals in public and private organisations operating in the medical device industry use different forms of capital (social e.g. networks and cultural e.g. knowledge) to solve design based problems. We define capital as resources embedded in social networks, knowledge or economic wealth (Bourdieu, 1986). Data were collected from interviews and written diaries from individuals involved in the design process of medical devices using interpretative analysis. Inferences made from our analyses suggested that individuals working in organisations who successfully solve problems may do so by using both social and cultural capital and so may be more likely to engage in innovative activity than others. These exploratory findings suggest workers in large organisations may have the capability to use a greater level of in-house social and cultural capital, whereas those in smaller organisations may be more reliant on high levels of social capital in order to ‘tap into’ cultural capital beyond organisational boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-843
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Engineering Design
Issue number10-12
Early online date20 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • problem-solving
  • innovation
  • Bourdieu
  • social capital
  • cultural capital

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