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Composing empathic design teams: a simulation-based investigation on the role of personality traits and risk-taking attitudes on team empathy

M. Alzayed, S. Miller, and C. McComb
2020, Design Computing and Cognition '20

Empathy is known to help engineering designers develop a deeper under- standing of the users’ needs. However, prior research on individuals has identified that individual differences, such as personality traits and risk-taking attributes, could significantly impact designer’s empathy. While this prior research provides a context for why individual differences may impact a designer’s empathy, engineering design activities are typically de- ployed in teams, and thus a team-centered view of empathy is also needed. As such, the goal of the current study was to investigate the role of the diversity in personality traits and risk-taking attitudes in impacting team empathy in engineering design. dents. The results identify the importance of team diversity in personality (extraversion, neuroticism, and openness) and risk-taking attitudes (ethical, health/safety, and social) when composing highly empathic teams. This is important since empathy could allow design teams to deeply understand the needs of diverse users and subsequently solve those users’ problems.