University of Twente Student Theses


Designing a collaborative toolkit to raise cultural awareness of designers on cross-cultural teams

Feng, C. (2022) Designing a collaborative toolkit to raise cultural awareness of designers on cross-cultural teams.

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Abstract:In a globalized era, many corporations are dealing with global issues. To create products for international audiences, designers must build relationships with customers/users worldwide and collaborate with people from various cultures and disciplines. Cultural awareness becomes highly significant in the process. This project explores how a collaborative toolkit can support designers on cross-cultural teams to raise their cultural awareness. First, an exploratory study was conducted with 14 designers to explore their cultural awareness in design contexts and cross-cultural collaboration and to discover the problems and needs of raising designers’ cultural awareness. After that, the goals of the toolkit were defined. Then, brainstorming was conducted to generate ideas for designing the collaborative toolkit. The toolkit was developed based on the insights from the in-depth interviews, ideas collected from ideation activities, and two theoretical models (i.e., cultural iceberg and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions). Afterward, the concept of the toolkit was tested. Based on the feedback from the user testing, the toolkit has been improved and evaluated to answer the main research question. The results of the user testing and the final evaluation indicated that the toolkit could create an open and accessible space for participants to share their mindsets, past collaboration experiences, and cultural backgrounds with their teammates, which helped them to know their teammates better. In the toolkit, some scenarios that could often happen in workplaces were designed based on Hofstede's cultural dimensions (i.e., individualism-collectivism, power distance, and uncertainty avoidance). These scenarios worked well to surface participants’ ways of thinking, values, and communication styles at work. The toolkit also helped participants to discover the differences in how everyone approached work-related scenarios and inspired them to reflect on the influence of culture on their behaviors and worldviews (e.g., ways of thinking, values, and communication styles). Findings have shown that the toolkit might effectively raise participants' awareness that culture could influence a person’s behaviors and worldviews. Lastly, the toolkit allowed participants to express their expectations in collaboration and helped them build a common ground for collaboration.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
LEGO Group, Billund, Denmark
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:01 general works, 71 sociology
Programme:Interaction Technology MSc (60030)
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