Can current design and development management pedagogy respond better in reflecting industry needs?

  • Walter Brown Herbst

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The purpose of this study is to bring clarity and consistency to the academic field that concentrates on management of product design and development. The research explores the assumption that no common standards exist for the education of those wishing to assume a managerial position in that field.
The findings have shown a significant lack of consistency in both the subjects offered as well as the naming of the subject in terms of the public presentation. As such, those who wish to enter the field, as well as those wishing to hire leadership, are met with dramatically varied educational background and degree titles. 
This study presents a review of all identified existing graduate programmes —of which there are 35 institutions worldwide, teaching 60 different courses, with 24 separate degree names.
This research explores and identifies the most relevant courses in response to leaders in industry. In his work, Schön (1983) references relevancy in terms of competence that is valued in professional practise as opposed to knowledge taught in academia, and this thesis explores what is practiced and what should be taught.
Three distinct groups within the USA were interviewed, including the following: 1) eleven educators responsible for these programme , 2) twenty design-centric industry leaders who hire managers for professional practice, and 3) ninety alumni who have graduated from one particular programme. The tacit knowledge of key leaders needs and the general references made to relevance over rigour are the impetus for the study. Valuing and addressing industry needs and ultimately recommending a course of action that aligns academic training with a more industry relevant content has been the overriding direction for this work. It is that debate that this research, for the first time, addresses the wants of industry, through clarifying eight specific courses to satisfy the need for trained graduate students in the role of management of product design and development within the context of the USA.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University

Cite this