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Proceedings of the First International Conference on Integration of Design, Engineering and Management

for innovation IDEMI09,


Porto, Portugal, September 14-15, 2009.

APPLICATION OF THE QUALITATIVE ISOTOPIC ANALYSIS OF THE DESIGN IMPACT IN


THE UTILITARIAN AND ORNAMENTAL PORTUGUESE CERAMIC INDUSTRY

Raquel J. Antunes
Departamento de Comunicao e Arte, ID+
Universidade de Aveiro
bidos, Portugal
raqueljfa@gmail.com

Joo A. Mota
Departamento de Comunicao e Arte, ID+
Universidade de Aveiro
Aveiro, Portugal
joaoamota@ua.pt

A.M.R.Senos
Departamento de Engenharia Cermica e do
Vidro, CICECO, Universidade de Aveiro
Aveiro, Portugal
anamor@ua.pt

Jos Lus Silva


ESAD de Caldas da Rainha / CENCAL
Caldas da Rainha, Portugal
jla.silva@cencal.pt

ABSTRACT
Integrated in a phD. study regarding the
design management in the Portuguese decorative
and utilitarian, the authors have made a
structural analysis of the qualitative data from
questionnaires, obtained in twenty six medium
companies of this subsector. The content of these
questionnaires were processed and evaluated
according to the structural common places that
articulate among themselves (isotopes). The
interviewees were divided by groups (engineers,
managers and designers), to identify the different
types of approaches to the underlying problem.
The understanding of the difference between the
isotopic analysis and the keyword analysis
definitions allows for a scientific validation of the
answers, with special focus on the definition for
design management. To analyze and to compare
the methodologies of information analysis are
two of the objectives of this work, as well as
further study, through the analysis of design
management, of the impact of design in the
economic subsector.

INTRODUCTION
The qualitative data was obtained through
questionnaires to a sample of twenty six (six
large and twenty medium) Portuguese utilitarian
and
decorative
ceramics
industries.
The

interviews were conducted between May and


August 2008. The industry has recently been
going though some rough economic times,
especially with the rise of the fossil fuel costs, the
decreased volume of foreign exports and the
reduction of client numbers. These facts have
resulted in the closure of many companies,
especially in the analyzed subsector.
The authors chose to analyze large and
medium companies, mainly because they
represent, among other characteristics, the
largest business volumes, the largest employee
numbers and the largest production ability and
capacity.
The data from the questionnaires was
transformed in information through the usage of
the structural analysis. The information was then
processed
and
evaluated
using
common
structural
patterns
that
articulate
among
themselves (isotopes). The purpose of the
qualitative analysis is to contribute to generate a
theory, a intelligibility schematics in an empirical
field [1] and, in order to achieve this objective,
it becomes necessary to produce a methodology,
that,
even
thou
intuitive,
reveals
new
assumptions, ones that are able to be
questioned, argued and that serve as starting
points for further investigations.

METHODOLOGY
The meetings scheduled with the selected
companies had the objective of interviewing the
top managerial staff, and, if possible, the design
team. These meetings were conducted with
groups of actors with distinct academic
backgrounds
and
vocabulary
(engineers,
designers and management), thus revealing the
necessity of the differentiated analysis.
The definition of design management was
structured accordingly to the different groups of
actors. The definition texts were selected every
time they mentioned a common structural
place, and this was done also when structural
places were mentioned. In some cases it was
necessary to use condensed descriptions,
versions of multiple linguistic synonyms [2]
able to be fitted in the respective structural
common places. The isotopes are represented by
through levels that reflect a crescent order, based
on the number of times the structural common
place was mentioned.
In an initial phase, the definition work
data was analyzed in qualitative terms, through a
keyword methodology, based on an intuitive
interpretation, and the results of this analysis
were published [3]. This analysis was based on
the reading and interpretation of all definitions
and on the gathering of the main keywords,
enumerated by frequency afterwards. On this
study, the authors have not mentioned the
parameters referred exclusively by one company.
This methodology has allowed a broader
perspective of the definitions mentioned by the
interviewees. Also, on this study, and based on
the same empirical data, the authors intend,
besides the isotopic analysis, to understand the
deviation between the keyword and isotopic
analysis. The understanding of this deviation will
produce the margins of error for the conclusions
obtained.

RESULTS
Isotopic for Design Management
The authors interviewed three engineers
of
three
subsector
companies.
These
professionals defined Design Management as:
ISOTOPES FOR THE DEFINITION OF DESIGN MANAGEMENT
BY ENGINNERS

Future Projections
Not Relevant

Product Quality

Procedure
Optimization

Designer Controlled Activities

The engineering scope of the study is


relatively small, because it is resumed to three
professionals. Design management can be
understood as the way to manage design1, based
on parameters like quality, client opinion2, and
cost strategy3. According to one of the
interviewees, design management is not a
priority for this type of companies4. This
professional also stated that design has an
excess of autonomy and freedom5.
On six interviews to professional designers
for companies on this subsector, design
management was defined as:
ISOTOPES FOR THE DEFINITION OF DESIGN MANAGEMENT
BY DESIGNERS
Product Development Management
Future Projections

Activity and
Function
Management

Product Meetings

Market knowledge

Trend
knowledge

Production
Knowledge

Product development management was


the concept that all interviewees mentioned as
most relevant. Design management implies that
all company cooperators produce work in a
consensuous manner6, have staff meetings for
product
development
and
possess
good
department managerial practices. To understand
the market and the clients, to know the latest
trends as well as the most recent production
techniques, allows for products to be developed
with focus on the costumer and the company.
On seventeen interviews to the top
management of the subsector companies,
thirteen managers defined Design Management
as:
ISOTOPES FOR THE DEFINITION OF DESIGN MANAGEMENT
BY DESIGNERS

1
2

Product Development
Management

Connection Client
Company

3
4
5
6

Product Development Management


Connection Client Company
Procedure Optimization
Irrelevance
Designer Controlled Activities
Future Projections

Procedure
Optimization

Product Development Management


Production Knowledge

Market Knowledge

Future Projections

Design integration

Product Meetings

Activity and
Function
Management

Trend Knowledge

Design management was defined by nine


(the majority) managers as the product
development management7 To manage the
development of products that fit on the company
production mold8, with ceramics pieces produced
according to market trends and based on the
company strategic vision9. Good function and
activity management10 could also include product
develop meetings, state-of-the-art11 knowledge
sharing, and integration of design on the
organization management.

Product
Quality

Designer
Controlled
Activities

Irrelevant

The design management process includes


the product development management based on
market and trend knowledgement, as a
foundation and path to the future of the
company. The production knowledge and the
understanding of department functions, in
conjunction with staff product meetings are
determinant for a sound, healthy management
practice. The attempt that some companies made
to integrate design in all aspects of the
production structure has revealed itself as
essential to the recognition of design inside the
company. The isotope also reveals that for some
managers, the design and the designers work is
an irrelevant activity that has excess of
freedom in its essence12.
COMPARATIVE MATRIX OF DEVIATIONS BETWEEN THE
KEYWORD SYSTEM AND THE ISOTOPIC SYSTEM FOR THE
DEFINITION OF DESIGN MANAGEMENT FOR ALL
INTERVIEWEES
KEYWORDS [3]

RESULTS ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION


On this chapter the authors will discuss
the isotope definitions versus the keyword
definitions published on an article taken from the
journal Design Principles & Practices [3], to
understand de deviation between both analysis
systems for qualitative data. On the following
matrices the represented numbers indicate the
counts that each concept had on all the
interviews.

To Direct Functions among


all Departments
(4)
Product Development
Management
(3)
Team Product
Development
(3)
Designer Understanding of
Production
(2)

ISOTOPES
Activity and Function
Management
(5)
Product Development
Management
(16)
Product Staff Meetings
(5)
Production Knowledge
(6)

ISOTOPES FOR THE DEFINITION OF DESIGN MANAGEMENT


BY ALL INTERVIEWEES

Long-term Thinking
(2)

Future Projections
(7)

Product Development Management

Conceive Products that


Sell
(2)

Market Knowledgement
(7)

Trend Knowledgement
(2)

Design Integration
(3)

Product Quality (1) and


Procedure Optimization (1)

Irrelevant (1) and Designer


Controlled Activities (1)

Future Projections
Production
Knowledge

Market Knowledge

Product Meetings

Design Integration

Function and
Activity
Management

Trend Knowledge

New products and processes management. Management of


the design role inside the company.
8
The knowledge of production assumes the knowledgement
of the production process, conceived accordingly to the
production techniques.
9
Future projections as aspirations or predictions.
10
To manage all the process up to the distribution as well as
management of the company production development.
11
Trend knowledgement.

12

Designer Controlled Activities.

The referenced article [3] defined design


management as the management of functions
and resources of all company departments,
aiming for the goal of product development,
either in an individual or a team fashion. In this
definition, the authors can identify the omission
of relevant common structural places, especially
concerning the presented isotopes of market
knowledgement, production knowledgement
and trend knowledgement, and in the fact that
design management can be understood as a path
or a foundation for the future of the business13.
One can observe on the comparative matrix a
large deviation in terms of number of product
development management mentions. It also can
easily be verified the lack of keyword
correspondence to the structural common places.

GENERAL DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS


According to the different groups of
actors, design management can be defined as
the management of design inside the company.
Despite this common definition some differences
were observed:
- The engineering group, represented by three
professionals, focused design management on
the way the design is managed, all thou in an
irrelevant position, inside the company.
- The designers group, represented by six
professionals, presented design management as
a critical in a healthy department management
and in product staff meetings.
- The managers group, the majority of the
interviewees,
represented
by
seventeen
professionals, stated that for a good design
management, one should have a sound
understanding of markets and production, in
order to create a good perspective for the future
and also to integrate design in the company.
The scientific validation of the presented
definitions is based on two distinct qualitative
analysis systems, the isotopic system and the
keyword systems, and both systems were used in
the evaluation of the answers of all actors
involved in the interviews.
According to the isotope system, the
design management presents the product
development management as the structural
common place with the highest weight in the
analysis, followed by the strategic planning for
the future and by the market knowledgement.
As for the keyword system, the design
13

Future Projections.

management is best defined by the function and


resource management of all of the companys
departments, with the common objective of
product development, either in an individual or
team fashion [3]. In this definition, the authors
do not observe an overlapping of both analysis
systems, but rather a deviation that sums to a
broader definition.
The importance of design in company
management is represented in the product
development management. Product development
has different phases, from the formulation of an
idea, to the materialization of the product, to the
sale to the final client. One should be able to
conclude that, for the interviewees, it is assumed
that in order to achieve a sound design
management, one should know the production
process, the trends of the market and its
acceptance of the product, thus answering the
clients needs.
In terms of design impact on the
subsector, the authors can conclude that the
analyzed companies think of design as a strategic
tool for long-term planning. Some companies
manage all the functions and activities of the
organization based on the development and
creation of a quality product. In terms of internal
organization, companies tend to use design
integration as a mean to improve the
management
of
functions
and
activities,
providing the environment for optimizing
procedures, for broadening the scope of staff
meetings and for promoting teamwork

THANKS TO
The authors wish to thank the financial
support of FCT (Fundao para a Cincia e
Tecnologia), the support of Antnio Marques and
the translation of Joo Fernandes.
We also wish to thank the cooperation of
the companies that operate in the studied
subsector: Almas dAreosa Cermicas, SA;
Barbotina Fbrica de Artigos Cermicos, SA;
Bonvida Porcelana de Portugal, SA; BrazGil
Studio; CCA Cermica de Culinria Alimentar,
SA; Cerags Investimentos, SA; Cermica da
Borralheira,
SA;
Ceramirupe

Cermica
Decorativa, Lda.; Cermicas S. Bernardo, SA;
Cerarpa Cermica Artstica do Pao, Lda.;
Cerutil Cermicas Utilitrias, SA; Faianas
Artsticas Bordalo Pinheiro, Lda.; Faianas
Primagera, SA; Faria & Bento, Lda.; Grestel
Produtos Cermicos, SA; Lusogrs Cermica de
Grs Fino, Lda.; Matcermica Fabrico de Loua,

SA; Molde Faianas, SA; Mota Pastas


Cermicas, SA; Porcel Indstria Portuguesa de
Porcelanas, SA; Porcelanas da Costa Verde, SA;
Primagera 3 Terracota Indstria Cermica de
Barro Vermelho, SA; Primagrs Cermica de
Grs, SA; Secla Sociedade de Exportao e
Cermica, SA; Spal Sociedade de Porcelanas de
Alcobaa, SA; Val do Sol Cermicas, SA; Value
Ceramic Companhia de Artes Cermicas, SA;
Vista Alegre Atlantis, SA.

REFERENCES
[1] Albarello, L. et al., 2005, Prticas e mtodos
de investigao em cincias Sociais, Gradiva,
Lisboa, pp. 117-118.
[2] Albarello, L. et al., 2005, ibidem, p. 182.
[3] Antunes, R.J. et al., 2009, Design
Management in the Utilitarian and Ornamental
Portuguese Ceramic Industry, Design Principles
& Practices: An International Journal, 3 (2), pp.
71-84.