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