A Study of Dignity as a Principle of Service Design
Miso Kim


This paper upholds the premise that dignity is a fundamental principle of human-centered design. I argue that consideration of dignity is particularly important in service design, as service concerns the collective participation of people with diverse backgrounds and needs. Service often starts with situations in which strangers meet for the first time and must collaborate to co-produce a service, which can sometimes lead to conflicts. This paper explores four perspectives of dignity that are grounded in utilitarian, humanistic, individual, and collective bases: dignity as merit, autonomy, universal rights, and interpersonal care. Key philosophical interpretations, social backgrounds, and historical shifts related to the concept of dignity are introduced, with design examples that reflect each of its dimensions. I then present research questions based on each concept of dignity and propose a research agenda to utilize the pluralistic framework of dignity in service design.

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