Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

Is Ownership Bias Bad? The Influence of Idea Goodness and Creativity on Design Professionals Concept Selection Practices

[+] Author and Article Information
Xuan Zheng

Department of Industrial and
Manufacturing Engineering,
The Pennsylvania State University,
343 Leonhard Building,
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: xxz159@psu.edu

Scarlett R. Miller

School of Engineering Design, Technology
and Professional Programs,
The Pennsylvania State University,
213-P Hammond Building,
University Park, PA 16802-1401
e-mail: scarlettmiller@psu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received June 30, 2018; final manuscript received November 19, 2018; published online January 4, 2019. Assoc. Editor: James T. Allison.

J. Mech. Des 141(2), 021106 (Jan 04, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: MD-18-1526; doi: 10.1115/1.4042081 History: Received June 30, 2018; Revised November 19, 2018

Ownership bias is a decision-making bias that leads to an individual's tendency to prefer their own ideas over others' during the design process. While prior work has identified the existence of this ownership bias in design professionals, limited work has investigated how the characteristics of the idea set affects this bias. In other words, is a preference for one's own ideas a bad thing if the ideas are truly better? This paper seeks to fill this research void through two design thinking workshops conducted with 45 design professionals recruited from two engineering companies. During the study, the participants individually generated and selected ideas as part of a 2-h team design challenge. The ideas generated were then rated for: (1) their perceived future value by the design team and (2) their creativity by expert raters. The results suggest that design professionals only exhibited ownership bias for ideas that were assessed to have little to no future value in the design process (low in idea goodness). In addition, professionals showed preferences for self-generated ideas that were of high usefulness and elegance but low in creativity, indicating an impact of creativity on ownership bias. These findings provide new evidence on the negative effects of ownership bias on the design process.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
Topics: Creativity , Design , Teams
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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Example of individual concept selection assessment sheet

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Percentage of ideas selected based on idea ownership and idea goodness



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