their roots to Foucault and Marx, emphasize the interrelationships between powerandknowledge (Harlos et al. 2003).In a user-centred MBA, there is room for both quantitative and qualitative approaches.Both would be used in concert to develop a subjective, intimate, understandingof the user, in contrast to the distancing and dehumanizing effect of regardingconsumers as statistics. Because of the differences in underlying epistemologies
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itmakes sense to offer separate courses but framed by a common philosophy of userintimacy.Abductive reasoning. Abductive reasoning, in contrast to deductive reasoning andinductive reasoning, is thinking about what might be possible. In Aristotelian logic,inductive reasoning is generalization from specific instances, while deductivereasoninginvolves inference from logical premises. Charles Peirce (1903) described abductivelogic as the process of forming an explanatory hypothesis. It is the only �logical operationwhich introduces any new idea.Abductive reasoning proceeds by the observation�of a surprising phenomenon that confronts pre-existing beliefs, reflection on the assumptionsthat led to the surprise and revision of these assumptions (Quilici Gonzalezand Haselager 2005); it includes creativity, which Boden (2004) defines as transformationof the conceptual space. To learn about abductive reasoning, students wouldlearn to identify their own implicit beliefs and assumptions and to confront these byUser-centred Design 137generating alternative solutions to problems through creative processes (for example,Czikzentmihalyi 1990; DeBono 2000). They would additionally learn how organizationscan be managed to encourage abductive reasoning (Amabile 1998).Synthesis. As noted earlier, the components of systems thinking are analysis andsynthesis.Students would learn to integrate analytical and synthetic methods to arrive atan appreciation of the larger context for business problems. This does not mean abandoninga reductionist approach, but rather means learning that the relationships betweencomponents of a problem are just as important as the components themselves.The approach has already been widely applied in operations research: for example,Daellenbachand and Pettys (2000) application of the MENTOR system originated�by Belton et al. (1997) has three stages: problem formulation, modelling, and implementation.Synthetic and analytical methods are used throughout iterations of theprocess, in which identification of the problem and the system are emphasized.Collaboration. The prevailing approach in business schools to working with otherstudents is a confrontational one in which ideas compete for acceptance (Dunne andMartin 2006). This works against the need to confront ones own assumptions in�framing and solving problems, and the element of surprise when these assumptionsare confronted. In a user-centred business school, students would learn to work collaboratively,rather than confrontationally, in groups. However, groups of relatively
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