Championing Design Thinking Practice in an Organization Driven by Engineering

Satu Rekonen*, Tua Björklund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientificpeer-review


While the adoption of design thinking practice to foster organizational innovation requires improving practice-fit with the organization, studies exploring the role design professionals may play in this process remain rare. We draw on championing and practice adoption literature to empirically investigate how design professionals champion the adoption of design thinking practice within their organization. Based on 66 semi-structured interviews among design professionals working in a variety of positions in large engineering company, our findings reveal that design professionals championed for the adoption of their professional practice through five practices: by consolidating their professional practice within innovation projects, by advancing and by regulating the replication of the practice across innovation projects, and by culturally legitimating and by sheltering the practice within the organization. While all design professionals championed their practice, design managers focused on the latter three of these practices. Our emergent conceptual model shows that professionals may champion their professional practice not only within and across innovation projects, but also across organizational structures and management levels. The study suggests that collective and coordinated engagement of professionals operating at different hierarchical levels in the organization could be a significant force in fostering adoption of a professional practice in organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventAcademy of Management - Boston, United States
Duration: 6 Dec 20127 Dec 2012


ConferenceAcademy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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