Schools what is needed is mostly a shift in attitude

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schools: what is needed is mostly a shift in attitude and focus rather than a large new body of material. Nevertheless, these principles have important implications both for curriculum and teaching methods. These implications are discussed below. Curriculum Master of Business Administration students learn a wide variety of techniques
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for analysing business problems but typically apply them to well-defined problems. Problem sets, exams and cases, for example, often spell out the alternatives available for comparison. Missing from the education of a typical business student is a discussion of how to identify the correct problem to work on, and how to think about new, untried alternatives. While business students learn some models designed to help them look at the bigger picture (Porter s 1979 model of competitive forces would be an example), there is scope to go much further and consider the implications of problems for users, markets, and societies. Essential to a user-centred approach is an attitude of empathy: that users are not just consumers to be targeted, but real human beings with thoughts, feelings, and needs; that employees are not merely factors of production; and that collaboration with others means understanding how the world appears from their perspective. 136 New Educatio nal Perspectives for Designers and Manag ers In a user-centred MBA curriculum, students would learn the following topic areas. In principle, all of these could be woven into existing courses. However, foundational courses in these topics would encourage students to approach all their courses with a different frame of mind. Problem framing. To solve problems rather than merely treating their symptoms, students must learn to identify the underlying problem. With the considerable research in framing since Kahneman and Tversky s (1979) articulation of prospect theory, students would learn that one s perception of a problem and therefore one s readiness to accept solutions depends on how it is framed. From fields such as root cause analysis (Wilson et al. 1993), students would learn practical methods for understanding the dimensions of a problem. The important issue here is perhaps an attitudinal one: the understanding that real-life problems are rarely what they appear to be and that extensive research and reflection are required before solution development can begin. Ethnographic research. As noted earlier, ethnographic research methods are used extensively by designers and are becoming popular in business (McFarland 2001; Mariampolsky 2006). Qualitative methods, including user observation, are currently included in many market research courses. One difficulty with this, however, is that the epistemologies and assumptions underlying ethnographic methods differ fundamentally from those associated with quantitative methods. Interpretivist approaches, for example, assume that truth is a set of socially constructed realities and the researcher s task is to look for meanings held by participants; other traditions, tracing
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