Epistemological Perspectives and Intercultural Encounters. In Pursuit of Creative Ways to Narrow Ontological Gaps.

Publication, 2014


P. Öllinger, J. Lembke, M. Gaisch, B. Gros Salvat - Epistemological Perspectives and Intercultural Encounters. In Pursuit of Creative Ways to Narrow Ontological Gaps. - Cross-Cultural Business Conference 2014, Steyr, Austria, 2014, pp. 337-344


Epistemological beliefs are parts of the underlying mechanisms of metacognition (Schommer, 1994) and often constitute domain-specific knowledge and disciplinary practices. As such, scientists and scholars differ in many aspects of their academic socialisation and epistemological commitments. Given that disciplinary communities frequently possess little or no detailed insight into other academic cultures, a number of misconceptions might arise which, if not addressed appropriately, result in a further widening of the epistemological gap. Owing to the increasing need for cross-border and interdisciplinary collaborations, mutual appreciation and deeper understanding of the other party`s cultural and disciplinary coding are pre-conditions for fruitful common endeavours. This paper outlines a design-as-an inquiry process intended to address this complex challenge of fostering appreciation among diverse professional cultures. For these purposes, an international team of researchers from Austria, Germany, Spain and India underwent a creativity process during a summer school in Helsinki where they jointly conceptualized their ethno-relative understanding of the task which resulted in a card game that might have the potential of uncovering the underlying assumptions of the interviewees. By taking this design-as-inquiry approach the researchers addressed the complex problem of different intercultural epistemological assumptions by first learning about the problem (creating knowledge) through a design process and, as such, generated innovative solutions. This card game was jointly developed within the "Designing Spaces for Active Engagement” summer school which was part of the EU-funded project “Creating Knowledge through Design and Conceptual Innovation”. A particularly interesting aspect of this process lies in the differing backgrounds of the stakeholders in terms of ethnical and professional backgrounds. In this paper the design-as-inquiry process will be sketched by shedding light on how the intercultural group succeeded in finding common ground on the ideation and the prototyping phase. Initial piloting of the produced artefact was carried out in Germany.