Measuring Systems Engineering and Design Thinking Attitudes

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Greene, Melissa T.; Gonzalez, Richard; Papalambros, Panos Y.
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Michigan
Section: User-centred design
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


Systems engineering and design thinking have been widely seen as distinctly different processes, systems engineering being more data-driven and analytical, and design thinking being more human-centred and creative. We use the term ?design thinking? to encompass the plurality of human-centered design processes that seek to unpack the core values behind design decisions. With the increased awareness that both systems engineering and design thinking need each other, the effects of a possibly persisting distinction on engineers? attitudes toward these two processes are not well understood. In this paper, we describe the development and validation of a scale for measuring individual attitudes about systems engineering and design thinking. Thematic analysis of engineering and design literature is used to derive a Likert scale reflecting these attitudes. We use exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis to test and confirm this two-factor thematic representation, resulting in a 9-item Systems Engineering and Design Thinking Scale measure of attitudes.

Keywords: Design cognition, Design engineering, Human behaviour in design, Multi- / Cross- / Trans-disciplinary processes, Systems Engineering (SE)


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