Marrying Communication System and Knowledge Flows Theories in Conveying Design Meanings to Society

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This paper would like to improve the sustainability of the original design intent by capturing meaningful design decisions throughout a product’s creation process. Our research question is how designers/artists can transfer their design knowledge that will make a product meaningful to the society? This paper is a critical analysis of two selected theories: 1) Habermas and Luhmann’s communication system theory, and 2) Nonaka and Takeuchi’s dynamic knowledge flows theory . It attempts to marry the communication system theory with the knowledge flows theory where designers/artists can ensure the movement of the design’s knowledge from the created artifact to the society. This study focuses on tacit knowledge movements between an artifact and the society through socialization and internalization processes. The major contribution of this study is developing a new theoretical point of departure for explaining and enabling tacit knowledge movements between an artifact and a person. Additionally, this study hopes to contribute in promoting the awareness of design meanings throughout the artifacts’ lifecycle, thereby enabling an artifact to enrich the environment where it will be located.


Keywords: Design Meaning, Dynamic Knowledge Flows Theory, Communication System Theory, Design Theory, Smart Product Development
Stream: Meaning and Representation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Marrying Communication System and Knowledge Flows Theories in Conveying Design Meanings to Society


Dr. Rahinah Ibrahim

Associate Professor/Deputy Dean, Faculty of Design and Architecture, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Seri Kembangan, Selangor, Malaysia

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rahinah Ibrahim received her Ph.D. degree in Construction Engineering and Management from Stanford University. A Masters of Architecture graduate from SCI-ARC, U.S.A., Dr. Rahinah has extensive project management and architectural practice experience in hospitality development and large-scaled residential projects before joining Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). As the Architecture Programme Coordinator, she led the establishment of UPM’s architecture program that emphasizes socio-culture and sustainable architecture. Dr. Rahinah is one of the patent-holders for Putra Block, a Gold Medal winner at the International Exhibition of Invention 2001 in Geneva, and has received several scholarship and travel awards throughout her career. At Stanford University, she worked alongside renowned scholars from several American universities in the fields of knowledge flow dynamics, communication, and organization where she established the Discontinuity in Organisations theory for describing the knowledge losses phenomenon in complex work processes. Her current research interests include developing theories and computer-integrated applications for enhancing the movement of knowledge in complex design and construction processes.

Mohd. Nasir Baharuddin

Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Seri Kembangan, Selangor, Malaysia

Mr. Mohd Nasir Baharuddin received his Master in Fine Art from Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia, USA. Nasir has exhibited at numerous local and international art exhibitions and has received several scholarship, art awards and travel grants throughout his career. He is currently studying visual culture, emphasizing on Malaysian artistic thinking in positioning an artifact within its society.

Ref: A07P0031