A comparative study of design practice in Malaysia and the UK, with special reference to the creation of SME brands

Saad, Noorhayati (2008) A comparative study of design practice in Malaysia and the UK, with special reference to the creation of SME brands. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.


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The rapid growth of the Malaysian economy in the last 25 years has led towards greater spending power. Global competitiveness drives developing countries to create differences and as Malaysia progresses towards post industrialism, the role of design has become more strategic in the national sense. In addition, the challenge of massive markets has pushed Malaysian manufacturing industries towards innovative competitiveness.

This research is primarily concerned with design practice in Malaysian Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) manufacturing companies in relation to how individual brands are being developed. The study focuses on perspectives of design capability and cultural representation in SMEs in both the UK and Malaysia and suggests how they can be applied in Malaysia. For this reason, examples of best design practice were sought across diverse manufacturing industry sectors in Malaysia. However, in order to focus the study on a smaller, appropriately compact research-able area, participant companies were sought amongst recipients of the Malaysia Good Design Mark (GDM) Awards and compared with successful UK examples linking government, design institutions and companies.

The study also shows the willingness of manufacturers to accept changes in design perception and values, provided it would benefit company growth. The signs of homogenisation in design perception and design practice show that government agencies Malaysia Design Council or Majlis Rekabentuk Malaysia (MDC/MRM) and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) together with higher education providing human resources, all had a hand in promoting the role of design.

This research identified the key similarities and differences in management, product design and development process, customer expectation, marketing and branding. This led to the proposed Design Best Practice Model that may provide reference for Malaysian SMEs wishing to improve their competitiveness in both local and global markets.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
December 2008Completed
Subjects: CAH17 - business and management > CAH17-01 - business and management > CAH17-01-02 - business studies
CAH17 - business and management > CAH17-01 - business and management > CAH17-01-04 - management studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-03 - design studies
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts > Birmingham School of Art
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Carrie-Anne Bryan
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2017 12:38
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:52
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3890

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