Understanding customers across national cultures: the influence of national cultural differences on designers’ empathic accuracy

Jie Li*, Antti Surma-aho, Álvaro M. Chang-Arana, Katja Hölttä-Otto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

For engineering design to be successful, it is essential to understand customer experience and identify customer needs. However, it is challenging to understand customers, especially those from different national cultures. The empathy literature suggests that having similar experiences to another person can help understand them better. This study adopts an empathy measure from psychology for use in a project where designers attempt to understand customers’ driving experiences in different countries and identify their needs for detecting road hazards. We quantify designers’ empathic accuracy and the correctness of their rating of customers’ emotional tone. The results show that national cultural differences significantly affect the accuracy of designers’ empathic understanding but do not impact their understanding of customers’ emotional tone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-558
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Engineering Design
Volume32
Issue number10
Early online date18 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • customer needs
  • Empathy
  • engineering design
  • national cultural differences
  • understanding customers

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