Design Thinking Principles for Leadership Competency Development. 

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Research and Development in Higher Education: [Re] Valuing Higher Education Vol. 41

July, 2018, 266 pages
Published by
Dale Wache and Don Houston

In this quasi-experimental study, we tested an evidence-based learning activity designed to have students internalize the importance of empathy and its effect on a field work report (“Reflective Learning Project”) that they have attempted. 33 consented participants from an undergraduate management course were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 different conditions, namely design thinking (active) (“DT-A”), design thinking (passive) (“DT-P”), functions of management (active) (“FM-A”) and functions of management (passive) (“FM-P”) where they are required to complete a voluntary online activity. After reading the relevant materials, students assigned to DT-A and FM-A conditions were asked to write a letter to help a student solve an ambiguous management problem and students under DT-P and FM-P conditions were asked to summarise their learning. Thereafter, students who went through these sequences were measured on their display of empathy in the Reflective Learning Project they submitted. There are no concrete outcomes deduced due to limitations faced as a pilot run. However, we found that students who went through the design thinking (active) and functions of management (active) sequences displayed higher empathy than the students who went through design thinking (passive) and functions of management (passive). Our future studies will attempt to find ways to attract 4-5 times more participants so as to examine and report more concrete outcomes from the analysis.

Keywords: Empathy; Social-psychological interventions; Design thinking.

Design Thinking Principles for Leadership Competency Development. 

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Rajaram, K. & Jingjing, Huang.