Design managers, their organisations and work-based learning

Norman, C. and Jerrard, R. (2015) Design managers, their organisations and work-based learning. Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, 5 (3). pp. 271-284. ISSN 20423896 (ISSN)

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Purpose-Designers' careers can be compromised if they are unable to understand the business context they operate in and cannot communicate effectively across other disciplines. Where governments are calling for an increase in design management skills, design careers can limit the opportunities for the development of such skills. Universities have an opportunity to support designers' professional development through work-based learning (WBL). The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of the above. Design/methodology/approach-A case study, based on the master's in design management (the business side of design) at Birmingham City University, investigates designers' learning styles, their early career experiences and the challenges they face due to their lack of business understanding. Participant narratives are developed from in-depth interviews and describe professional progress through WBL. Findings-The paper finds WBL lends itself to the experiential nature of designers' learning and skills acquired through WBL can have significant influence on design managers. The case study provides evidence of designers gaining insight into the business perspective and developing communication skills through specific elements of "professional learning". Research limitations/implications-The small case study deals with the UK and Europe, however, implications for the universal and international aspects of practice remain. Practical implications-The paper considers the importance of design management skills to designers' careers and the opportunity for designers to acquire these skills through universities viaWBL. Originality/value-Unique experiences highlight the value brought about through non-linear educational and professional pathways, indicating novel joint policies for higher education and employers. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
10 August 2015Published
Uncontrolled Keywords: Design careers, Design management, Designing, Work-based learning
Subjects: 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 School of Architecture and Design
Depositing User: Yasser Nawaz
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2016 14:31
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:59

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