ICoRD'13 pp 631-641 | Cite as

Developing a Multi-Agent Model to Study the Social Formation of Design Practice

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering book series (LNME)


This paper describes a computer simulation based approach to investigating the longitudinal patterns in social emergence of design practice. Legitimation code theory is adopted as the underlying framework to develop the model. The design practices in this model emerge and evolve under the influence of the social structure as well as the knowledge structure. This model simulates a society of designers with different design backgrounds, affiliated to different teams and organizations. Design agents interact with each other and the concepts associated with the different disciplines. Design agents within each discipline are modeled to be attracted towards concepts, i.e., knowledge mode, as well towards the other design agents, i.e., knower mode, which collectively influence design practice. The force of attraction towards the knower or concepts varies across disciplines. The emergent social pattern is plotted in a two dimensional space defined by the social and knowledge axes. The simulation environment allows studying the longitudinal emergence of design trends resulting from varied initial conditions and what-if scenarios that are difficult to study in the real-world. Exemplary results are presented.


Common ground Legitimation theory Identity Influence Emergence 



This work is supported in part by a grant from the US National Science Foundation under Grant no: NSF SBE-0915482. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EngineeringAalto UniversityEspooFinland
  2. 2.Krasnow Institute for Advanced StudyGeorge Mason UniversityVirginiaUSA

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