Engagements and Articulations of Ethics in Design Practice
Christian Dindler, Peter Gall Krogh, Kasper Tikær, Peter Nørregaard


While ethics has been part of design research for decades, few studies have explored how designers engage with ethics in practice. Based on interviews with 11 practitioners in design consultancies, this paper explores how ethics is understood and dealt with in commercial practice. Based on an analysis of the interviews, we present six themes that capture how practitioners articulate the concept of ethics, how they distinguish between personal and organisational ethics, and how this relates to serving clients with potentially conflicting agendas. Moreover, the study demonstrates that practitioners do not typically use methods or procedures for dealing with ethics, but rely on ongoing and sometimes ad hoc dialogue. Based on these results, we suggest promising avenues for future work relating to concepts for articulating how ethics is dealt with in the design process and how design activities give rise to different levels of ethical concerns.

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