Marketing PhD candidates write papers. However, some design PhD candidates publish books. I have received book-format theses from two people who obtained their design PhDs from European universities. I also know of some other design PhD candidate in US who are presently writing books for their PhD degrees. Why do marketers and designers require different formats of work to obtain PhD degrees?
I believe that design PhDs are asked to have a broad understanding about an area, whereas marketing PhDs are asked to generate specific piece of information from an area. An author of a book (PhD in Design) raises a broad question (e.g., value of design thinking), reviews others’ answers comprehensively, and then makes his/her own argument. Differently, an author of a research paper (PhD in Marketing) raises a specific question (e.g., value of design thinking is greater when economy is good than when economy is bad), reviews others’ answers briefly, and then test the question by performing statistical analysis. In sum, design PhDs make a holistic approach whereas marketing PhDs make an analytic approach.
Analytic (holistic) approach makes a store look cheap (upscale). I have visited an outlet furniture store in which the whole items are simply piled up. This analytic approach made me difficult to imagine how a room looks like. Therefore, I decided not to buy any item in this store. If the manager in this store uses the holistic approach and displays carefully selected items in different sections with specific themes, not only the store looks upscale but also I purchase some items (e.g., What is the secret of the upscale home deco stores?).
When consumers shop for home decorators, they often find it difficult to imagine how a space looks like if they buy and display specific items. Unfortunately, many typical home deco stores do not take into this issue seriously but take an easy or “analytic” approach: they simply pile up the whole decorators and categorize them by chairs, tables, and lighting (above).
However, up-scale home deco stores take a relatively demanding or “holistic” approach. Ando, for example, is divided into several sections. In this store, only a few items are selectively displayed that go well with the theme of each section. When a section represents a single-person studio, for instance, it has a desk, a chair, a mirror, and a hanger (below). Such a holistic approach relieves consumers’ mental burden, which in turn leads them to pay more in the store (see other examples in the IKEA or read a relevant article on designer vs. consumer).
Jaewoo Joo | design thinking, behavioral economics, new product development, new product adoption