Knowledge acquisition in ecological poduct design: the effects of computer-mediated communication and elicitation method
Produktentwicklung | Industriedesign | Umweltverträgliches Produkt | Wissenserwerb | Product design | Environment | Knowledge acquisition
This article presents a study that examines multiple effects of using different means of computer-mediated communication and knowledge elicitation methods during a product design process. The experimental task involved a typical scenario in product design, in which a knowledge engineer consults two experts to generate knowledge about a design issue. Employing a 3x2 between-subjects design, three conference types (face-to-face, computer, multivedia) and two knowledge elicitation methods (structured interview, network technique) were compared. One hundred and eight participants took part in the stucy. They were assigned to 36 groups of three. Quantitative and qualitative performance data were collected and the group processes with the IPA method analysed. The results showed that the computer conference group was generally more productive than the two other groups during the conference. However, participants were unable to maintain their higher performance levels in a leater task where the conference results had to be edited before being fed into an expert system. As expected, the computer conference group showed the lowest socio-emotional content during interaction. The network technique was largely more productive than structured interviewing, though it was more time-consuming. Furthermore, the findings suggested that both the network technique and computer conferencing achieved their higher productivity in knowledge generation only at the cost of information processing depths, resulting in poorer performance for subsequent transfer activities. The results are discussed with regard to organizational choice in managing conferences of this kind.