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Title: Can design effect transformational change in the voluntary community sector?
Author: Warwick, Laura Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 0684
Awarding Body: Northumbria University
Current Institution: Northumbria University
Date of Award: 2015
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This qualitative, exploratory investigation provides insight into the relevance and applicability of adopting a Design for Service (DfS) approach to effect transformation in Voluntary Community Sector (VCS) contexts. Using Action Research and a case study structure, the DfS approach was introduced and applied within three VCS organisations in succession. In each organisation, data on the impact and perceived value of the approach to a range of stakeholders was captured during, immediately after, and in the year following the engagement. An inductive analysis process was then employed to build theory from the collated case study data. The research has established that the use of design at a systemic level of a VCS organisation can incite transformational change. It has shown that stakeholders' initial trust in the designer is more important than their trust in the DfS approach (methods and processes), which becomes crucial to increasing the influence of design in the organisation. Once the designer becomes a 'friend' to the organisation, they can operate at an embedded level as a 'critical friend', which allows them to challenge the status quo and create new organisational perspectives. Finally, it defines five organisational factors that are critical to using the DfS approach to effect transformational change in a VCS setting. The study has multiple contributions to knowledge, including: detailed evidence that design can be used to transform VCS organisations; a 'critical friend' model depicting how design can be used to effect transformation in such settings; and a prototype 'design-readiness' self-assessment tool for VCS organisations. This thesis represents the first doctoral length study into the application of the DfS approach in a VCS context, and provides both evidence and insight into its capacity to incite transformational change at a critical time for the sector.
Supervisor: Young, Robert; Lievesley, Matthew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W200 Design studies