The Dual Nature of Design Management

Ergo Pikas1, Lauri Koskela2, Niels Tredal3, Vegard Knotten4 & Trond Bølviken5

1Technical University of Denmark, DTU Management Engineering, [email protected], Tallinn University of Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Aalto University, Department of Civil Engineering
2University of Huddersfield, School of Art, Design and Architecture
3NCC Denmark, Denmark
4Veidekke Entreprenør AS, Norway
5Veidekke Entreprenør AS, Norway. Also The University of Agder, Norway


Design management profession has probably got the least attention in the construction industry. One reason could be the lack of explicit conceptualizations about its nature, subject matter and principles. In this article, a conceptual design management framework is proposed on the premise that design management is the management of a structured system of object and subject-oriented, technical and social design activities. Additionally, an example of a mediating visual model is proposed to facilitate the discussions about design activities and design management in academia and practice. The two major premises of this research are 1) as design management is the management of design activity, it is dependent on the way design is conceptualized; and 2) design is a human activity, but not a thing (e.g., representation) or an event (e.g., decision-making).


Design management, activity theory, design activity, design system, shared mental models



Pikas, E. , Koskela, L. , Tredal, N. , Knotten, V. & Bølviken, T. 2018, 'The Dual Nature of Design Management' In:, 26th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Chennai, India, 18-20 Jul 2018. pp 647-657

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