Management as a Design Science Mindful of Art and Surprise A Conversation Between Anne Huff, David Tranfield, and Joan Ernst van Aken
Huff, Anne and Tranfield, David and van Aken, Joan Ernst (2006) Management as a Design Science Mindful of Art and Surprise A Conversation Between Anne Huff, David Tranfield, and Joan Ernst van Aken. Journal of Management Inquiry, 15 (4). pp. 413-424. ISSN 1056-4926
Huff: Management is a relatively young profession and a young field of study. For some time, there has been an interest in "design" as a primary descriptor of management practice. Herbert Simon described management as a "design science" in The Sciences of the Artificial, first published in 1969 and reissued in a third edition in 1996, yet the specifics of design have not been clear to me, especially as the basis for action. My interest in design was recently piqued by David Tranfield, professor of management at Cranfield School of Management, who then introduced me to the work of Joan (pronounced "Johan" for those of you not familiar with names from the Netherlands) van Aken, professor of organization and management at Eindhoven University of Technology. van Aken’s work was very interesting, but I wasn’t initially convinced that management conceived as design could incorporate two metaphors for management that I have been more inclined to use: an "artful" blend of resources and action and the "capacity to respond to surprise." The following conversation with David and Joan provided a convincing positive answer. We discuss the definition of design, its importance, the art of design, its capacity to deal with surprise, inevitable limitations, how theory is involved, and a vision of the future. I hope that readers will find the basic idea as significant as I do.
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