Contributions towards the resolution of communal conflict in Guyana : a case study based on human needs and their satisfaction
This thesis describes research into the use of external design expertise by client bodies
from a group of developing countries known as Newly Industrialised Countries (NICs).
It explores the reasons for using design consultancy companies by NIC clients with
particular reference to the operations of British automotive design consultancies.
The study was carried outin two stages. The first stage was of an exploratory nature and
consisted of a postal survey of 56 British design consultancy companies specialised in
product design, and interviews of seven consultants which were chosen from the
respondents of the postal survey. As vehicle design and development projects were found
to represent a major part of the consultancies' work in NICs, the second stage of the
study focused on the automotive industry. Case studies were carried out in four British
design consultancies selected from the combined findings of the initial study and a
focused literature survey on the automotive industry. The case studies focused on
selected vehicle design and development projects as a device to find out about the
contribution of design consultancies in the development of firm-level capabilities.
The study has identified the use of design consultancy companies as one of the formal
technology acquisition mechanisms for NIC clients. Design consultancies provide an
alternative mechanism to other technology transfer mechanisms for companies wanting to
establish indigenous product design and development capabilities. In addition, an NIC
company producing as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), can receive help in
creating its independent product development capacity from design consultancies. Finally,
for aspiring NIC companies which aim at entering into the world markets with own brand
vehicles, independent consultancies can provide a short-cut in putting together a product
of the right quality.
A typology of NIC clients is developed. According to this typology, NIC clients suffer
from a number of scarcities to varying degrees; for these clients, the reasons why they
use design consultancy companies are identified. While some of the reasons appear to be
NIC and automotive industry specific, others are applicable to organisations from
developed countries and NICs alike representing the general reasoning behind making use
of design consultancies. Exporting to the advanced markets was found to be the dominant
stimulating factor of design consultancy use by NIC producers in the context of the
The study has revealed that design consultancies have a role as agents of learning for NIC
clients. The consultancy role changes from 'provider of technology as a package' to
'problem fixer', as the client NIC companies progress in the process of acquiring
indigenous capabilities. The findings of the study have also revealed that design
consultancies play various roles as marketing agents for exporting NIC companies. These
roles are determined by the level of development of client capabilities in terms of export.
For example, at an advanced level, design consultancies can be effective in overcoming
barriers caused by the lack of positive brand name and country image.
In the light of the major findings of the study, a five stage conceptual model is built in the
context of the automotive industry. This model identifies patterns of design consultancy
use which vary according to the different stages in the development of firm-level
capabilities in technology, marketing and design.