Stanford University Stanford Computer Science Department
Abstract    |    Introduction    |    Contacts    |   

   What is PD?
   Political Push
   The Developer

Philosophical Perspective
   Design Philosophy


   Expert Systems Design
   Usability Engeering
   Value Senstive Design

How participatory design might gain a greater following in the U.S.

According to Sarah Kuhn, in parts of Europe, codetermination, which is unions and management making joint decisions on matters that affect the company and the workforce is well established. Designers have legal and cultural basis for making decisions that favor worker autonomy and control, even when doing so conflicts with management. In the U.S., designers do not have this precedent. Kuhn offers 3 precedents to help change the face of design in the United States:

  1. Workers' Bill of Rights
    This states that workers should retain their civil rights inside their place of employment. Proposals have been made to establish an Employee Bill of Rights that protects workers from employers stripping them of their freedom of speech, freedom from search and seizure, etc., when they enter the workplace. Kuhn asserts, "If these rights were indeed established by law, they would constitute a firm grounding for workplace democracy."

  2. Worker participation through unions.
    Kuhn states that unions in the United States have tended to show little interest in the design of technology. The exceptions to this rule, however are working on this issue. Since participatory design is much more common where unions are strong, Americans are at a disadvantage compared with Europe, because unionization rates are so much lower in the U.S. Increased participation through unions in the United States could help to make employers more aware of the issues by giving voice to worker discontent, as well as protecting workers who make their discontent known.

  3. Codes of ethics for designers.
    Kuhn also proposes an accepted code of ethics for professional designers. She states that numerous proposals have been made, and that these codes, "can serve as guides for the design professional who recognizes that to design computer-based systems is to make an organizational intervention an intervention that can have powerful effects on how people work and live".

Product Development
   Vendor Adoption
   Product Design

In the US
   New Context
   Current Use

   Applied PD

Abstract    |    Introduction    |    Contacts