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Conference paper

The Context of Addressing Power Dynamics in Design

To support transformative aims, scholars highlight a crucial need for increased
attention to power dynamics in service design (SD). Current literature emphasizes
the need for individual service designers to build reflexivity around power without
much consideration for their surrounding context. This narrow focus may
inadvertently reinforce existing power dynamics while using service designers as
scapegoats for the persistent problem. Drawing from ecological theories in
psychology, this article provides a framework for understanding the contextual factors
that contribute to the lack of reflexivity around power dynamics among service
designers. Based on our own experiences and a review of SD literature, we used this
framework to identify domains of contextual factors that inhibit service designers to
address power dynamics in practice. By proposing a systemic framework and
identifying related contextual factors, this study helps to provide grounding for future
research and action within the service design community regarding the structural
changes needed to address power dynamics.

Hay, A.Vink, J., & Suoheimo, M. 2023. 'The Context of Addressing Power Dynamics in Design'. In Proceedings of the Service Design and Innovation Conference (SERVDES). Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio, Brazil: 12.07.2023–15.09.2023. 1–22. Available: https://servdes2023.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/ServDes_2023_paper_2220.pdf